Cheetos teases mysterious Super Bowl ad starring Ashton Kutcher

Dive Brief:

  • Cheetos previewed a Super Bowl commercial for its recently released Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix, a mashup of Cheetos Crunchy and Cheetos Popcorn, per an announcement. The commercial will mark the second straight year that Cheetos has run a Super Bowl ad.
  • The teaser stars actor Ashton Kutcher, who’s shocked as he looks through black-and-white photos mysteriously sent to him with an empty bag of the new snack. The video concludes by showing the date of the game, hinting that the mystery will be solved in its upcoming commercial.
  • This year’s Super Bowl ad marks the latest installment of Cheetos’ masterbrand campaign, “It’s a Cheetos Thing,” which debuted during last year’s game. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay will support the new the campaign with in-store, out-of-home (OOH) and digital activations, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

Cheetos aims to build anticipation for its Super Bowl ad and new product with the teaser spot. The introduction of the Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix snack mashup comes after the brand introduced Cheetos Popcorn in last year’s Super Bowl ad, and is consistent with a 2020 trend of including snack mixes with meals, according to Frito-Lay. The company said internet searches for recipes with Cheetos almost tripled last year, likely because consumers were looking for fresh cooking inspiration while stuck at home during the pandemic.

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The ad hints that Kutcher is about to embark on an investigation of clues that include an empty bag of the new snack. The cliffhanger ending of the Cheetos teaser is reminiscent of Kraft Heinz’s campaign for Planters peanuts last year. Its 2020 Super Bowl ad showed brand mascot Mr. Peanut sacrificing himself to save his friends, setting the stage for a year-long campaign charting his rebirth and maturation. Cheetos is hinting that its Super Bowl ad will uncover a “shocking” mystery. The ad creative was inspired by research showing about half (48%) of Americans admit to stealing snacks from friends or loved ones, according to the Frito-Lay Snack Index Survey. Among those people, 25% admit to doing it regularly, the study found.

Cheetos is among the brands that Frito-Lay will feature in the Super Bowl, the first time the snack maker will run three separate ads during the big game. Frito-Lay also will air a spot for Doritos and a “portfolio campaign” for its entire lineup of brands. Parent company PepsiCo will also run an ad for Mtn Dew soda, while eschewing in-game ads for Pepsi. Instead, the soda giant will have a dominant presence again as the name sponsor of the halftime show featuring singer The Weeknd. The brand for the first time launched a campaign to promote the live concert with a multichannel activation that started last week.

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