Doritos tunes up its alt image at EdgeFest

In an effort to cement its bold, wacky brand image, Doritos chose to make some noise this summer by teaming up with the annual alternative rock tour EdgeFest.

In an effort to cement its bold, wacky brand image, Doritos chose to make some noise this summer by teaming up with the annual alternative rock tour EdgeFest.

Visitors to the seven concerts, held between Aug. 18 and Aug. 29 in markets across Canada were able to experience the ‘Doritos Loud Zone’ via special tickets given away by Doritos using a radio phone-in. The tickets gave access to prime seats in front of the stage, to see bands including Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, and New Found Glory. EdgeFest concerts were held in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal.

At each ‘Doritos Loud Zone,’ up to 7000 bags of Doritos chips were distributed, together with orange Doritos T-shirts.

‘Doritos see themselves as the irreverence of taste, and EdgeFest is bold and irreverent, so we couldn’t ask for a better fit,’ says Andrew Turner, president at strategic youth marketing company, Bat Cave, which spearheaded the promotion. Doritos’ target demographic also tied in well with that of the EdgeFest concerts. ‘We are marketing the product at kids and teenagers, and EdgeFest is the ideal place to reach that group,’ Turner continues. ‘The giveaways were so popular that kids were trying to buy the T-shirts from each another. It’s a huge boost to the brand.’

Doritos appointed Bat Cave to increase consumer awareness of the product, to boost sales and to build relevancy, and so Turner came up with the idea of providing sponsorship to EdgeFest, which is promoted by House of Blues. ‘Everyone knows about potato chip brands like Lays, but Doritos is trying to market itself as an edgier product,’ he says. ‘It is something a bit different, so putting them in touch with an alternative event like this really reinforces that brand image.’

Prior to each of the seven concerts, up to 500 tickets to the ‘Doritos Loud Zone’ were given away by radio stations in each market. Radio spots were used on rock stations such as CJAY 92 in Calgary, CFOX in Vancouver and Edge102 in Toronto in order to promote the ‘Doritos Loud Zone’ to EdgeFest’s target market.

‘Doritos market themselves as ‘the loudest taste on earth’ so we came up with the idea of the ‘Doritos Loud Zone’ to build on that idea, and to offer fans the best seats, in the loudest part of the concert,’ says Turner.

‘Teenagers get thousands of impressions through the media so we had to come up something that would really appeal to them to make a lasting impression with the Doritos brand,’ he continues. Listeners were simply asked to ring in to win the tickets, although Turner hopes to make more of the competition-element of the promotion, if it is repeated next year.

In each market, 100 free tickets were designated as VIP passes, giving kids the chance to go backstage after the EdgeFest concerts, to meet the band members who participated in the initiative.

As part of the promotion, EdgeFest banner ads and printed material all featured a ‘Doritos Loud Zone’ starburst. The ads were displayed on posters and in street mags across the country including Voir in Montreal, Vancouver’s Georgia Strait, Now in Toronto and Chart Magazine, in addition to local mainstream papers such as the Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen.

‘Doritos wants to build equity in this link-up, and it has gone exceedingly well this year, so hopefully we’ll be repeating the promotion in 2002,’ says Turner.

And for those not ready for Jimmy Eat World. . .

Advertisers often come up against a number of roadblocks when trying to reach the under fives, but they can sometimes be overcome by taking a product directly to the little ones. With this in mind, specialty kids TV channel Treehouse TV is taking its popular daily series The Big Comfy Couch on a live tour of Canadian shopping centres this fall. The interactive musical show for preschoolers will be taking in 20 different market areas between Aug. 26 and Oct. 14.

Promoted by event specialist, Kidomo, the free 30-minute show, entitled Treehouse Live! – The Big Comfy Couch, marks the second Canadian tour by Treehouse TV. Last year’s shows attracted more than 67,000 people across the country.

‘Obviously we can’t advertise directly to preschool children, so this is a great opportunity to get sponsors and boost the live brand of the TV show,’ says Christine Liber, publicist at Treehouse TV. This year’s event sponsors include Play-Doh, Hasbro, General Mills, and Today’s Parent. ‘This is a great opportunity for us to take the show out into the community and reach people in their home town,’ continues Liber. Shopping centers were chosen as the prime locations to reach preschool children and their parents and caregivers.

The show features the characters Loonette and Molly from the TV series. Loonette is an energetic clown who experiences the world from a child’s perspective and accompanies Molly on the world’s biggest and most comfortable couch.

Kids are encouraged to participate in the interactive performances, and will have the chance to meet Lucky the Leprechaun and Mr. Potato Head. Gifts including Play-Doh samples and Beanie Babies are distributed to the young viewers. A complete list of performance locations and times can be found at