At first I thought it was an act of corporate suicide.
I’m talking about the Doritos’ commercials on the Super Bowl last Sunday. Pepsi’s Frito-Lay division (owner of the Doritos brand) ran a series of Super Bowl ads that cost them some serious coin.
CBS charged $2.6 million for a 30 second Super Bowl spot this year (up just a bit from the $42,500 for Super Bowl I). If Frito-Lay paid the sticker price were talking $10.4 million for a couple of minutes of air time. But with 106.5 million viewers- the largest in television history – they had an historic opportunity to sell some chips.
So with about $10 million invested and 106 million prospects to talk to, they communicated a message of great clarity: Eating Doritos will bring you physical pain.
I kid you not.
One of the ads takes place in the exercise room of a gym. One guy – headband, sweat pants – offers his buddy – tank top, gym shorts – some Doritos, which he takes.
Then headband tells gym shorts that he got the Doritos “out of Tim’s locker.” This comment strikes such fear in the heart of gym shorts that he spits a mouthful of partially eaten Doritos onto the floor and says, “This is bad. Tim loves Doritos.”
Gym shorts no sooner utters these fateful words when he is struck in the side of the neck by a Dorito in the incarnation of a steel, ninja throwing dart, and falls over.
Cut to Tim: a psycho, covered in Doritos like the creature from the Black Lagoon with orange splotches, who attacks headband screaming.
Fade to black.
Makes you hungry, doesn’t it?
There was another commercial in the series that has the young son of an attractive black woman sharply slapping his mother’s suitor for checking out his mom as she walks into the kitchen and then taking a Dorito from a bowl on the coffee table. Junior is peeved and the sound effects of the slaps are loud and vicious.
Yet another shows a man sitting on a bench eating Doritos. A dog approaches and looks at the man longingly. The man won’t give the dog a chip unless he barks for it. The dog, unknown to the guy on the bench, is wearing a bark suppressing collar. The clever canine somehow gets behind the bench, removes the electronic device, and straps it around the man’s throat, who falls to the ground spasming from a series of agonizing electric shocks to his larynx.