-- Doritos has spent the past five years pitting consumers squarely against Madison Avenue in its flashy Super Bowl ad competition.
Tuesday, Doritos will announce that for its 2012 Super Bowl contest, it is pitting consumers against — and offering to land one lucky consumer a prestigious job with — a loftier star: Hollywood.
On Tuesday, the $2 billion chip brand that helped turn Super Bowl advertising into a consumer-generated adfest, will reveal plans for a high-stakes competition between its consumer-created Super Bowl spot and a Doritos spot to be created by a production team known for creating some uber-cool Saturday Night Live digital shorts.
At stake: a possible $1 million prize — and a guaranteed gig to create a future Doritos commercial with The Lonely Island, the Hollywood team that's created Grammy-nominated I'm On A Boat, Lazy Sunday and a series of popular SNL digital shorts with Justin Timberlake.
If the consumer-generated ad wins USA TODAY's Ad Meter, a real-time consumer testing of Super Bowl ads, the creator wins $1 million. If the ad by the production team, The Lonely Island, wins Ad Meter's top slot, then it will donate the $1 million prize to charity.
"At the end of the day, consumers aspire to be in the entertainment world," says Tony Matta, vice president of marketing for Doritos. "It felt like a natural transition for the program."
In economically tough times, Doritos is offering a very high-profile job to the winner of its annual "Crash The Super Bowl" contest. The consumer winner will be tapped to work with The Lonely Island to create a future Doritos TV spot.
"The way things are with the economy, this will generate plenty of goodwill buzz for Doritos," says Allison Cohen, an ad consultant and founder of PeopleTalk. Since young folks are being hit so hard by the bum economy, she says, this plays right into the lap of the brand's target consumer.
For Doritos, whose sales have flattened over the past year, it's all about creating an image that attracts young snackers even as it holds on to older snackers. It's also about standing out among a sea of Super Bowl marketers that are paying a record $3.5 million per 30-second spot this year for the Feb. 5, 2012, broadcast on NBC.
But news of the contest, which begins accepting Super Bowl ad submissions on Oct 3, comes at a sad moment for parent Frito-Lay. Arch West, the former Frito-Lay executive credited with creating Doritos as the first national tortilla chip brand, died last week in Dallas, at 97.
But when his cremated ashes are buried at his funeral on Saturday, says West's daughter, Jana Hacker, "Instead of rose petals, we'll toss in Doritos."