The Doritos Guru chips in

Frito Lay Canada's 'Become the Doritos Guru Contest' challenged Canadians to name the brand's new mystery flavour (which appeared on store shelves in plain white bags) by creating 30-second commercials. The winner's concept will spark a national campaign and they will also win $25,000 and 1% of the product's net sales.

Frito Lay Canada’s ‘Become the Doritos Guru Contest’ challenged Canadians to name the brand’s new mystery flavour (which appeared on store shelves in plain white bags) by creating 30-second commercials. The winner’s concept will spark a national campaign and they will also win $25,000 and 1% of the product’s net sales.

‘How do we create an idea that’s big and rewarding enough that consumers will want to engage, and in essence, drive the marketing strategy?’ says Tony Matta, VP marketing at Frito Lay Canada. ‘If you’re going to engage then you have to accept that you’re actually taking on a business partner.’

The contest was teased with a TV spot, ‘Talking Toys,’ during the Super Bowl. Commercials were accepted until March 18 with 892 submitted at press time. A panel of celebrity judges, including Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh, announced the top five on March 24, and Canadians have until April 5 to vote for their favourite. The big reveal is set to take place during Much On Demand on May 1, at which point the new brand rolls out.

The TV advertising was developed by BBDO, online advertising and social media handled by Proximity Canada, media facilitated by OMD, and POS materials crafted by Capital C.

We asked Mike Sharma, VP and GM at Toronto-based Fjord, and Max Lenderman, executive CD at GMR Marketing in Chicago to tell us whether this bold consumer engagement initiative hits the mark.


Sharma: At a time when consumers may be getting tired of user-generated media (UGM) contests, Doritos have thrown a hefty arsenal to ensure the success of their campaign. It’s clear that the combined efforts are driving the results – from a good number of contest submissions and strong viewership numbers on YouTube to a healthy following on Facebook. Consumers are engaged, and this campaign demonstrates that given the right resources and alignment of the marketing/communication disciplines, UGM contests can still thrive.

Lenderman: This campaign is true to the Doritos ethos of putting control in the hands of their munchers. This idea takes it a step further, as not only does it allow teens to compete in a creative contest, but also win a percentage of the profits. I think that’s both daring and hook-laden.


Sharma: The alignment of TV, online ads, POS, social media and the website is very apparent. The celebrity sponsorship is the only part that feels disconnected (at first I couldn’t understand why there were tweets about Chris Bosh) but given the target audience I understand the appeal and that it will become more apparent at final judging.

Lenderman: The above-the-line stuff seems commonplace: almost every teen brand in Canada seems to find itself on MuchMusic or MusiquePlus. However, the rubber hits the road at retail, and the blank packaging really brings the ‘WTF’ element to the campaign.


Sharma: The fact that 1% of product sales will go towards the winner differentiates it from ‘yet another marketing contest,’ showing Frito Lay’s commitment to the concept.

Lenderman: For many kids, 1% may not translate as well as something like $100,000, even though the actual income can be more than 100k. However, the more compelling idea is to follow the Guru as he is getting paid. I wonder what the amplification elements are to the program, long after the promotion has run its course.


Sharma: It does break through the clutter, it creates a differentiated position and engages with this audience in a unique way. We can surmise that while this engages a smaller segment of their target, for those that do engage, you could never match the impact versus an ‘impression frequency’ media buy.

Lenderman: The bag approach is breakthrough. Not many brands are willing to mess with their packaging. The surprise and delight element really comes through. For some die-hards, however, it may prove to be a turn-off as they want their flavours. Does this start a conversation? Yes, but probably more among marketers than teens.

The creds

Advertiser: Frito Lay Canada, Tony Matta, VP marketing

Mass advertising: BBDO Canada, Toronto

Interactive: Proximity Canada, Toronto

Media: OMD Canada, Toronto

POS: Capital C, Toronto

PR: Fleishman Hillard, Toronto