Tech In Action: Tostitos fights drunk driving

The chip brand creates a bag that will tell you if it might be better to take an Uber home, and then help you call one.

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Tostitos has long positioned itself as a chip that will make sure guests stay entertained at your party, but during this year’s Super Bowl, it’s making sure those guests also get home safe.

The Frito-Lay brand, working with agency GS&P, has crafted limited-edition party packaging for the big game. A small sensor built into the chip bag can detect traces of alcohol on a person’s breath, at which point the green circle on the bag will be replaced by a red steering wheel and a “don’t drink and drive” message.

The bag also comes equipped with NPC sensor, so tapping the bag with your phone will hail an Uber to your location. By partnering with Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, users can also enter the bag’s UPC code into the Uber app and receive a $10 discount on a ride taken during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Though Tostitos is the official chip brand of the NFL and an official sponsor of the Super Bowl, it has never run an ad during the game, instead using its involvement with the league in things like contests and shopper marketing in past years, as well as featuring players in its ads throughout the year. (This year, the brand is being featured in a dual promotion with Pepsi in a series of digital videos featuring players like Joe Flacco and Von Miller planning Super Bowl parties.)

Regardless of the platform, Tostitos’ positioning when it comes to the NFL has been typically been around being a party food. While the sensor is somewhat unsophisticated compared to actual breathalyzers – it is triggered by the presence of any alcohol level, instead of giving an accurate blood alcohol content measurement – the idea seems to be less about letting someone know if they’re over the legal limit and more about using attention-grabbing tech to start conversations and keep drunk driving top-of-mind for people.

“For a football fan, there is a lot of emotion involved with a game,” said Roger Baran, CD at GS&P. “It’s easy to drink more than you planned. And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off. On Sunday of the big game, we want Tostitos to be that friend.”