When Time magazine stuck a tinfoil mirror on its cover, naming you the Person of the Year, some brands took the ball and ran with it. However, few consumer brands have taken the user-empowering movement quite as seriously as PepsiCo's
The corn chip maker let its patrons decide what Super Bowl ad to run with earlier this year, then asked customers to design the Pepsi can. Now it's asking its fan base to decide the company's next signature flavor.
The Fight for the Flavor marketing campaign pits two new Doritos products. Consumers are being prompted to cast their vote for either Smokin' Cheddar BBQ or Wild White Nacho. The top vote-getter will get to stick around, while the loser is retired.
It may not seem all that original. You've seen M&M and Crayola put new chocolate candy and crayon colors to a vote in recent years. However, the Internet has a broader audience these days.
Sure, the Doritos contest is rigged. Each bag of chips has a promotional code for the voting process. Logic would dictate that the flavor that sells the most will generate the greater number of voters. Can a renegade group stuff the ballot? Well, there is no Sanjaya flavor, thankfully.
The Doritos Super Bowl challenge was also stacked in PepsiCo's favor. The premise of the contest was that amateurs would submit television commercials, but PepsiCo then narrowed the field to five high-quality entries. It was still a brilliant move, and Doritos was able to get its money's worth out of the pricey ad time by generating a great deal of buzz before and after the Colts beat the Bears.
Doritos has been quite the workhorse for PepsiCo lately. Unlike Coca-Cola
So who will win? Going by the shelf-space advantage that Smokin' Cheddar BBQ has over Wild White Nacho at my local grocer, I'd bet my chips on Smokin' Cheddar BBQ. Then again, we already know the real winner here: PepsiCo.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Doritos, but won't cast a vote yet, because he has tried only one of the two flavors. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.