Doritos launches a streamer for fans of Ketchup

PepsiCo combines content and snack bingeing to herald the return of the "uniquely Canadian" LTO.

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Everything old is new again, but this time it comes with something new to watch: Doritos Ketchup has created a streaming platform as part of the marketing push behind the flavour’s return as home-bound Canadians continue to snack more.

“Ketchup +” provides original programming to Canadians stuck at home, all of which was developed during the pandemic. Content includes spoofs of earnest sports documentaries, abstract expressionism, fringe conspiratorial programming like Ancient Aliens and even influencers themselves, spanning comedy, drama, fashion and cooking, all geared to short attention spans by clocking in at under 10 minutes. Using BBDO Toronto’s creator platform Flare Studios, an open call was put out to thousands of content creators and filmmakers from across the globe.

Previously, to celebrate the return of the “uniquely Canadian” flavour, the brand has created roses made out of the chip and even dropped a collection of ketchup-themed apparel. In 2019, the brand shifted the launch to the summer, declaring it “ketchup season.”

Shirley Mukerjea, senior marketing director at PepsiCo Foods Canada, tells strategy that Doritos always has a rotation of fan-favourite flavours that return for LTO engagements, and according to Mukerjea, ketchup is the top requested flavour, which is why it keeps coming back.

The streaming content approach – targeted at Gen Z – is meant to coincide with consumers watching more content online and seeking new entertainment options over the last several months.

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“The Doritos brand positioning is focused on igniting bold self-expression,” Mukerjea says. “We felt there was no better way to connect with our audience and support that idea…than with a free video streaming platform with original content, developed by creators who are expressing their deep love of Doritos Ketchup chips.”

Ramon L. Laguarta, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, said in a recent earnings call that it has been using its advertising to emphasize how the snacking category gives consumers moments of enjoyment during confinement. He says the company has been seeing lots of growth across the category, and “the beauty of our snacks is that it can only last for a certain period of time and they have an expiry date. So consumers will eat them. They will not stock them forever.” To support this consumer trend, the company shifted its marketing budget away from core beverages and into its food brands, which also include Lays and Quaker.

PepsiCo was also one of the many CPGs that limited production to focus on its most in-demand SKUs, limiting LTOs and pulling flavours like Cool Ranch Doritos from the shelves. Going forward, however, Mukerjea says innovation will be a focus again and it will continue to create LTOs to deliver new flavours – even beyond Doritos Ketchup, which had enough demand to make its return a possibility in the shorter-term. This spring, Doritos entered the tube snack space in the UK with its new Stax line, a format meant to compete with the likes of Kellogg’s Pringles brand, and available in three new flavours.

BBDO led creative on the “Ketchup +” campaign, Citizen is on PR and influencer relations, OMD is on media and MarkIV is leading some in-store activations.

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