Consumers loudly oppose deafening compostable SunChips bag

By David Kiefaber on Tue Aug 24 2010


Companies soliciting consumer feedback from social-networking sites should be advised that those consumers often act like petulant children. The latest example of this is SunChips' new biodegradable packaging, which is apparently too loud for 40,000 pairs of delicate ears, judging by the SORRY BUT I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUN CHIPS BAG group on Facebook, which is raging against the new bags. "The loudest, most annoying bag on the planet," reads one comment, while another laments that "1 week after the change I stopped buying SunChips. Used to eat 2-4 bags a week. No more! I want silence to sit and enjoy my snack, not an evil bag that makes horrible noise even sitting still!" This sounds like empty bleating, which it is, but this kind of thing works. Pepsi withdrew new designs for its Tropicana juice packaging after a couple of weeks because the response on Twitter was so overwhelmingly bitchy. Frito-Lay, which owns SunChips and is itself owned by Pepsi, is handling the criticism by resolving to come up with less annoying biodegradable bags. As ridiculous as this all seems, it's an unavoidable part of modern branding. If you're going to saturate the public with ads and milk them for content through contests and Web sites, eventually you'll have to entertain their opinions to keep them interested in your product.

Crunchy Cheetos and Puffy Cheetos fight to death in Web game

Posted on Wed Jun 30 2010


"Everyone appreciates a good food fight. So does Cheetos," writes our snack contact at PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay. (Hell yes!) The opponents in a new online Battle of the Cheetos game from the cheese-curl brand are Crunchy Cheetos and Puffy Cheetos. Choose one or the other, and let's hope your warrior is tough enough "to survive and not turn to crumbs," writes the Frito-Lay rep. You can play on your own or against friends who happen to be online (hey, this is the digital/social age). To make your army stronger, simply collect more "Cheetle" (that's brand-speak for Cheeto crumbs). The game is supported online by a range of partner sites, including, Digg and Boing Boing. We just tried the game. Team Puffy. Argh, Chester, we let you down!

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Lay's carves a wooden billboard to reflect 'crafted with care' idea

Posted on Fri Jun 4 2010


Leave it up to the folks at Lay's to literalize what it means to be made from "all natural ingredients, crafted with care." The Frito-Lay-owned potato-chip brand has three wood carvers etching out those exact words on a giant billboard in San Francisco. (The result should look like the photo here.) The outdoor effort—from agency Juniper Park, part of a larger TV and print campaign—supports new flavors like Crinkle Cut Spice Rubbed BBQ and Harvest Ranch. It expands on a larger campaign Frito-Lay launched last year highlighting the farmers who grow its potatoes. The snack-food giant estimates the billboard will take "up to 10 days and 80 hours to complete" and will remain up until the end of this month. Though consumers across the U.S. eat Lay's, Michelle Rule, North American marketing director for Frito-Lay, said San Francisco was chosen to host the billboard as it's "a city known for having a 'foodie' flare." She added: "Lay's Kettle Cooked potato chips are cooked in small batches," emphasizing that each chip is made with tender loving care, just like the billboard.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Tostitos' splashy salsa video on Vimeo unlocks a world of flavor

Posted on Tue Mar 2 2010


Oooo, this salsa dancer might be as good to eat as she is to look at! Frito-Lay seeded a splashy new video on creative sharing site It opens with a luscious flower shedding its petals to reveal a salsa dancer, who mesmerizes us with her ability to slice together a medley of garlic, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. It leaves you craving Tostitos chips dipped in salsa. For now, our Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheesburger tortilla chips will have to do. Ahh, put the snacks away!

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Doritos unveils Asylum 626, another pants-soiling Halloween site

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Jeepers! Last year, it was Hotel 626. Now, Doritos and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners are reviving their scary Halloween online experience with a new site, Asylum 626. Log on between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and you're plunked into the middle of a horror film (hint: it takes place in an asylum) with the challenge of escaping ASAP. To get your adrenaline really pumping, Frito-Lay recommends turning all the lights out, turning on your webcam and microphone and putting on your headphones. The campaign celebrates the return from the dead of two "fan-favorite flavors," Black Pepper Jack and Smoking Cheddar BBQ. An augmented-reality marker on the back of the "undead" bags gives viewers access to exclusive footage when you hold it up to the webcam. We'd try it out, but it's not 6 p.m. yet, and the BrandFreak office is scary enough with the lights on.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Lay's celebrates local growers, lets the chips fall where they may

Posted on Thu May 14 2009


Frito-Lay, like seemingly every other marketer on earth, is making a big point about going local. Its newest marketing blitz focuses on the 80 "local" farmers from 27 states who grow the potatoes used to make its Lay's chips. In addition, they're making 40,000 in-store displays customized by state, and a tech toy at can identify where any bag of the chips was made if you enter the first three digits of the product code on the bag and your ZIP code. Not to undermine their efforts here, but they're missing the point of "locally" grown food. We understand that their chips are made somewhere, but, as an executive from Sustainable Table points out in the article, their stock is still grown on industrial farms, which are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the rugged, individualistic American farmers they claim to support. Now Utz, there's a potato chip for you uppity-liberal-guilt types.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Enjoy golf-ball-size Cheetos balls (rocket launcher not included)

Posted on Wed Apr 1 2009

Ah, those giant puffy Cheetos balls. Have you tried? PepsiCo's snacks division, Frito-Lay, is rolling out new, golf-ball-size versions of its Cheetos cheese balls today. The move is part of the brand's mission to reach adult snackers via instant office stress relief. (Possible uses for the cheese de-stresser, per Frito-Lay: "Replace your boss's stress ball with a Giant Cheetos ball and watch the fun crumble." Or even worse: "Fill the boss's umbrella with Giant Cheetos and then close it back up. Next time it gets cloudy, wait for it to rain cheese." How cheesy.) One thing's for sure: These finger-lickin' puffs get more and more addictive by the bite. So much so that, during a recent cubicle snacking session, we were basically licking the cheese off our fingers, until we heard our boss's footsteps. Not wanting to be caught, we had to tee off! (OK, that's even cheesier.)

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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