Participatory Marketing: How Doritos is Winning the Super Bowl (So Far)

A week before the game, Doritos is already winning the Super Bowl with the help of participatory marketing.

doritos-new-logoSince 2007, Frito-Lay, the parent company for Doritos, has run the Crash the Super Bowl campaign. In it, fans of the brand (who might want to be rich and famous) are invited to create their own commercials for Doritos, and the online community votes for their favorite. The campaign is an example of participatory marketing, and with the viral component brought on by social media, it is paying off phenomenally well for Doritos.

Recently, the five finalists were announced, and people are now faced with the challenge of picking a winner. (Don’t worry, the hilarious videos are all shown below.) While this seems like a fun way to source content, Frito-Lay has actually leveraged the benefits of participatory marketing to generate as much anticipation for their winning commercial(s) as there is for the game.

It is no secret that people look forward to watching the Super Bowl commercials all year. As always, there is hype, there are winners and there are duds. But one thing that has remained constant is the anticipation. Some brands give hints about their commercial to build hype (see Jaguar’s teasers) while others have started taking a drastically different approach.

The most notable strayer from the course this year is Axe. A few weeks ago they shared a Super Bowl ad in its entirety. The result has been outstanding, with the video garnering over three million views so far. The same is true for Doritos.

All five finalists’ videos are live on the Crash the Super Bowl YouTube channel and each has millions of views. Doritos recognized, a few years ago, the potential to reach millions for weeks or months leading up to the Super Bowl, as opposed to reaching a huge audience all at once for a few fleeting seconds.

Last year there was a new record for the number of tweets shared during a television event and a new record for brands using hashtags in commercials. Recognizing the potential to leverage these media means that the coveted thirty seconds of television time ends up being a small part of the campaign.

What Doritos has done is kept their brand in the minds of millions leading up to the big day. The exposure from their YouTube channel and other media on which these videos have been shared far exceeds what people will see for a few seconds. Consider this: for this year’s campaign, Frito-Lay announced that it would be accepting international entries. This means that all over the world, people were making videos that they hoped would go viral to promote the Doritos brand.

While the grand prize is one million dollars, and the air time is another few million for Frito-Lay, they receive, in return, thousands of commercials featuring their brand being shared all over the world – for months. A very brief cost-benefit analysis shows why leveraging participatory marketing is an excellent avenue if your brand has the clout to do it.

Below are the five finalists. Have a look and be sure to tell us which one you would (or will be or did) vote for either in the comments below or on Twitter!

Finger Cleaner

Cowboy Kid

Office Thief

Breakroom Ostrich

Time Machine