Company: Frito-Lay


Introduced: September 2017

Distribution: Regional

Suggested Retail Price: Varies

Product Snapshot: Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) expands its photochromic (light-sensitive) ink capability throughout Mexico with a Cheetos-exclusive promotion: Where is Chester? wherein the brand hides Chester from its bags, making him visible only by exposing the package to sunlight, capturing consumers’ attention and bringing awareness to the promotion. Consumers can find inside every Cheetos bag free product and coupons with points to redeem in for amazing prizes such as Chester footwear, Chester clothing and a Chester selfie stick.

The promotion began August 5 and continues through October 13.

There are 16 different ‘poses’ of Chester across several Cheetos portfolios: Torciditos, Poff, Flamin’ Hot, Nacho, Bolitas, Colmillos & Popcorn. The bags display a magnifying glass and a white circle until the package is taken into the sunlight. There, Chester’s irreverent brand character appears, behind the magnifying glass, with a mischievous attitude.

CTI custom-developed the orange and charcoal photochromic inks, qualified them with the converter (American Poly del Norte in Mexico) and attended the production run there to ensure complete satisfaction on everyone’s part.

Since the launch in August 2017, response to the Cheetos promotion has been met with interest and enthusiasm, as several fan-generated YouTube videos showing how to activate the hidden images and find game pieces and prizes show.

CTI’s innovative photochromic inks provided—for the first ever—technology solutions in 2015 for Frito-Lay in the United States. The result: the package converter of the Lays product won a 2016 Silver Achievement Award from the Flexible Packaging Association. This captured the attention of the brand marketing team who wanted to do something bigger and more interactive with CTI’s photochromic inks for the Cheetos brand in Mexico. The limelight was readied for Chester’s moment in the sun.

“One of the challenges of using smart technology is finding an application that just isn’t a ‘gimmick,’ but that has a meaningful connection to the brand,” explained Barry McCann, new launch leader for CTI. “The ultimate goal is to lift product sales, but for lasting power, it has to speak to the consumer in a way that reinforces the brand personality and promise.”

The interactivity of the package compels customers to play, rather than simply treat the bag as a ‘product carrier.’ At the same time, it encourages consumers to go outside and into the sunshine. The high level of brand interaction promotes collecting all 16 ‘Where’s Chester Cheetos?’ designs and returning to the store to purchase more for additional game pieces.

From a technical perspective, the Frito-Lay Mexico promotion is believed to be the largest commercialization and distribution of photochromic technology on a major CPG brand to date, anywhere in the world.

For more on Frito-Lay, see our September 2017 cover storyInnovation yesterday and today at Frito-Lay.