Frito-Lay to run trio of Super Bowl ads for first time

Dive Brief:

  • PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division for the first time will run three campaigns during the Super Bowl, premiering TV commercials for Doritos, Cheetos and its portfolio of snack brands. The portfolio campaign will feature the most NFL stars ever in a PepsiCo spot, per an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • Peyton and Eli Manning, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders and other football luminaries will appear in the Frito-Lay portfolio ad. The company also will run spots for Doritos 3D Crunch, the cone-shape tortilla chips that the snack brand reintroduced last month, and for Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix, a new product from the Cheetos brand.
  • Frito-Lay’s expanded Super Bowl play comes as parent company PepsiCo revamps its marketing around the big game. The company’s Pepsi soda brand, the regular Super Bowl halftime show sponsor, will eschew an in-game commercial this year, and is instead promoting headliner The Weeknd in a multichannel campaign that includes national TV ads, digital content and a microsite, along with in-store activations.

Dive Insight:

Frito-Lay’s plans for an expanded presence during the Super Bowl this year show PepsiCo is looking to put the spotlight on its snacks business, a category that has taken off in popularity during the pandemic. Frito-Lay products are offered through a new direct-to-consumer website, Snacks.com, that PepsiCo has emphasized more strongly in its advertising of late, though it remains to be seen what role the platform will play at the Super Bowl.

With Pepsi again sponsoring the halftime show, PepsiCo brands are positioned to have a dominant presence in the Super Bowl this year. The company’s Mtn Dew soda plans to return for the second year in a row with an in-game TV spot as well. While brands like Ford, Hyundai, Little Caesars and Avocados From Mexico aren’t running ads, Anheuser-Busch, M&M’s, Pringles, Toyota and TurboTax are among the brands that will be back.

COVID-19 uncertainty hangs over Super Bowl LV, but the game is primed to be the most-watched TV event of the year and a venue where Frito-Lay will be able to reach millions of consumers. While the NFL saw lower ratings during the regular season in a crowded schedule for live sports, its post-season games are drawing bigger audiences than rival programming.

NBC scored the highest ratings on Sunday night with its broadcast of a wildcard game that drew 20 million viewers, per Nielsen data cited by Variety. The leading viewership numbers show how live sports still have the power to reach a mass audience on linear TV. While many people may not host Super Bowl parties this year, there’s still the possibility they’ll tune in for the big game.

Frito-Lay has been a bright spot for PepsiCo as U.S. consumers eat more meals at home instead of going out during the pandemic. Frito-Lay North America’s organic sales expanded 6% in the third quarter from a year earlier, faster than the 4.2% growth for the entire company, per a quarterly earnings announcement.

The snack division’s Tostitos, Cheetos and Doritos brands experienced higher growth, while PepsiCo’s Quaker Foods division saw double-digit growth in pasta and macaroni and cheese dishes, CNBC reported. By running three campaigns during the Super Bowl, Frito-Lay could be setting the stage for more promotional activity throughout the year.

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