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Doritos / No Choice Chips

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

Snack brand releases tasteless chips to show young Americans the importance of making a choice

Doritos has launched a new version of its tortilla chips that tastes like cardboard. In fact, its No Choice limited edition bags aren’t filled with chips at all but actual pieces of cardboard. These chips with ‘no taste’ and ‘no crunch’ were created specifically for young Americans who have not registered to vote for the presidential election, in order to illustrate that ‘if you don’t make a choice, you don’t get a choice’.

From 27 September, which is National Voter Registration Day, people can visit Doritos’ Red vs Blue campaign site to order a bag of No Choice chips and send it to someone they know isn’t registered to vote. In partnership with charity Rock the Vote, visitors to the website can also enter their email address to get a copy of the voter registration form.

To bring its message to life, Doritos created a vending machine that was filled with its No Choice chips, as well as the more common Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese flavours. Doritos placed its vending machine on a college campus and recorded students as they tried to get the snack of their choice. But before they could select their desired flavour, the machine asked them whether or not they were registered to vote. If the answer was no, the machine dispensed the flavourless chips with a card reading ‘If you don’t vote, someone else chooses for you just like this.’ Participants could then enter their email address to begin the voter registration process. (Though Doritos admits it gave out samples of its tastier flavours regardless of voter registration status).

Doritos will also be accompanying Rock the Vote on its Truth to Power bus tour across college campuses as it tries to rally youth voters to the polls.

On its Red vs Blue website, Doritos is continuing its political messaging with a competition asking people to vote on whether Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese is their favourite flavour. Participants must enter the bag code on a pack of Doritos to vote and if their flavour wins that week, they could receive prizes including merchandise and airline tickets. The top prize is a trip to Las Vegas fit for a president and a presidential term’s worth of free chips (i.e. four years).


Contagious Insight / 

Rocking the vote / According to the US Census Bureau, the American youth vote has been steadily decreasing. In 1964, 50% of Americans aged 18 to 24 did not vote, by 2012, 62% did not hit polling booths. It’s certainly bold of the brand to create a terrible version of its product to make a point, but it’s a smart and attention-grabbing way to visualise the importance of voting. This is a topical issue for Doritos to get involved in, allowing the brand to piggyback on some of the attention around the presidential elections with a PR-worthy story. As Jennifer Saenz, chief marketing officer for Frito-Lay, told USA Today: ‘We try to engage in popular culture’ and the ‘election lends itself to consumer conversation’.

Doritos has managed to tie this support of an important cause to its brand positioning, which makes a chip brand getting involved in voter rallying a little less odd. The brand has long communicated its ‘bold’ positioning, and this latest campaign reinforces that by indicating that the ‘boldest choice is making a choice’.

But it is the partnership with Rock the Vote, a well-respected and well-known non-profit that really legitimises Doritos’ foray into politics. It’s especially important that the brand has gone further than just spreading the message that voting is important and is actually helping people register to vote online and through its connected vending machine.

Targeting students / For Doritos, this campaign not only aligns the brand with a worthy cause, but one that is in line with its target audience of young people. The partnership with Rock the Vote legitimises Doritos’ presence on college campuses beyond just giving out chip samples. The capability of getting people to send their friends a No Choice packet of Doritos is especially smart because it allows the brand to use its own fans to reach out to people who might not have come across the campaign on the brand’s behalf.



This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.

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