Doritos taps into Gen Z’s love of self-expression with a model search

Fashion victim Dino Mita is back as the brand looks to connect with the next generation of younger customers.
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Last year, Doritos created a viral stir with Dino Mita, a slightly creepy hippie who played a pan flute cover of Snow’s “Informer,” complete with cheesy green screens of Easter Island.

Now, the PepsiCo brand has brought the character is back, this time as a wannabe model, part of an ongoing effort to drive trial for the Doritos Dinamita tortilla snack for which he is named.

The hirsute musician was originally conceived to draw in digital ad-averse Gen Z, appearing in a long-form music video to let consumers know Dinamitas were like conventional Doritos, but rolled into cylinder shapes – geared more towards incremental snacking than the “traditional” triangular Doritos, according to senior marketing director Shirley Mukerjea. The campaign launched during 4/20 this year, earning more than one million views in the first 24 hours.

For the brand’s latest “model search,” it brought the flutist back, once again rocking a mullet and bedecked in his Easy Rider leather fringes while modeling the chips. The campaign is encouraging participants to enter their own model search photos, modeling Dinamitas on Instagram, or by joining the #DinamitaPose challenge on TikTok for a chance to win a $1,000 “modeling contract” for the next phase of the Doritos Dinamita campaign.

“We wanted to bring back the fun and memorable pan flute player and include him in this campaign’s creative,” says Mukerjea. While Doritos has typically been a youth-focused brand, she says Doritos is evolving its messaging to speak to a new generation of young consumers. The TikTok side of the campaign was directed specifically at consumers between the ages of 18 and 24, who are not only highly active on the platform, but are extremely interested in creating and share content for self-expression – including a cheesy model shoot.

Doritos’ positioning itself around self-expression was also a component of this summer’s launch of a streaming service for its Ketchup flavours, developing a swath of original programming with influencers and creators, comprising comedy, drama, documentaries and cooking shows.

Two weeks ago, PepsiCo reported Q3 earnings and “mid-single-digit growth for Doritos.” In North America, the company reports that the Frito-Lay snacks division continued to deliver robust growth as “at-home consumption trends have remained strong despite the measured reopening of economies.” The company also had major increases in marketing spend in the quarter, going up by double-digits for Frito-Lay.

However, CFO Hugh Johnston said that the company was still looking to reduce “non-essential” marketing spend, echoing statements made earlier this year amid shifting investment away from beverages and into snacks, though says some efficiencies are being drawn progress in consumer data, performance marketing and its in-house teams. The new Doritos Dinamita campaign was created by BBDO Canada, and supported by OMD and Citizen Relations. 

According to Mukerjea, in the spring, the brand saw less frequent store visits but much larger basket sizes than usual, which drove unusual and sometime unpredictable spikes in volume. In the summer, consumers noticed the temporary “disappearance” of Doritos Cool Ranch chips from store shelves, a result of what Mukerjea calls difficult decisions that many CPG companies had to make during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to gear production to in demand and core products.

Now, the company predicting that its snack business will have ongoing resilience, according to Ramon L. Laguarta, chairman and CEO, and that seems to be reflected on shelves. In addition to putting marketing support behind the Dinamata product line, Doritos also recently added a Late Night Buffalo Hot Wings SKU to its lineup of snacks.