Ode to Frito-Lay's Finest
February 1, 2008
Ode to Frito-Lay’s Finest
By Deborah Cassell
My name is Debbie, and I’m addicted to Doritos. I admit it. I should seek help. The thing is, I don’t want to. Honestly, I don’t care if I’m an addict for the rest of my life, even if it means alienating friends and family, and appearing on an episode of A&E’s “Intervention.” It’s completely worth it.
They say that acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to recovery. And I have already taken the most necessary preventative measure: I never actually purchase the product. No, I simply eat them at parties ... and encourage the hosts to provide them. In fact, the last time I had Doritos, the friend throwing the BBQ bought what seemed like a 100-lb. bag from Costco. (He knew I was coming.)
I am not alone in my plight. A colleague and I once threw down a whole bag of the deliciously crunchy chips while waiting for a pizza delivery, not even realizing we’d done so until minutes after we finally stopped inhaling them.
When it comes to Doritos, I’ve always been a purist. I choose fried, not baked. Nacho Cheese is my pick flavor, and I do not deviate from that selection. I don’t do Cool Ranch, although some say they prefer it to the original. I’ve never even tried other varieties — Fiery Habanero, Salsa Verde, Smokin’ Cheddar, Spicy Nacho, Blazin’ Buffalo and Ranch, Taco or Black Pepper Jack — despite my affection for all things spicy.
But I recently made an exception to my own rule.
Just when I thought Doritos couldn’t get any better, Frito-Lay went for the jugular with the ultimate offering for loyalists nationwide: Doritos Collisions. The product combines two flavors in one bag — genius!
Equally brilliant is the advertising campaign that accompanied the introduction. In commercials, rapper Missy Elliott sits in a studio making mash-ups that combine hip-hop with country, for example, while eating a bag of Zesty Nacho and Chipotle Ranch Doritos Collisions. (Meanwhile, at www.Doritos.com — click on Collisions — visitors can enjoy an entertaining, interactive experience in which they create their own collaborative recordings, complete with lyrics.)
When it comes to snacks, Frito-Lay’s got one very important thing right: Collaboration is key. Last year, I wrote a trends piece about seasonings and flavor pairings. Frito-Lay hits the nose on the head with this new marriage. And its collaborative ad effort with a popular artist further proves its understanding of what it takes to explain a new product to a picky public, one that rarely looks beyond static grocery lists.
Perhaps it’s too late, but I’d like to interject that this is not meant to be a (shameless) plug for Doritos. No one paid me to write this. And I certainly hope readers will not accuse me of trying to score free samples by doing so. My relationship with Frito-Lay’s best brand runs deep. Back in junior high, I even wrote a poem (that was, until now, unpublished; see below) declaring my undying love of the snack. (To the marketing executives in Plano, Texas: I’ll expect royalties should you borrow my work. Please do not overreact to the weight-gain verse.)
By the way, I’m proud to report that I have been Doritos-free for more than two months now. (Sadly, I’ve had no occasion to eat the aforementioned chips as of late.) I can’t say I’ve kicked the habit. Nor do I want to. But if you’re gonna “Snack Strong” as Doritos suggests, you might as well do it with a fistful of those tasty tortillas in your hand. As Missy might say, get your snack on!