How Doritos Is Using Its New Community For Marketing #CSreport2015

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Image via (click to access article)

After writing quite a bit about Doritos’ crowdsourcing activity of the last decade, which all started with the famous “Crash The Super Bowl” video contest, let’s have a look at the “next step” that PepsiCo’s brand seems to take. The company has indeed started a platform called Doritos Legion Of The Bold, which is  based on Flockstar, a crowdsourcing technology operated by Texas-based agency The Marketing Arm. Blogger Dan Lamoureux said about it: “It sounds like [Doritos] is so crazy for crowdsourced content that they’re going to start running lots of smaller contests all year long.  That’s an interesting bit of news in and of itself.

And indeed they are because, as I write this, Doritos has launched a dozen of marketing competitions already on this platform. It is mainly about marketing activation and consumer engagement, but tomorrow they might start running HQ-video projects or innovation contests. So, will they kill “Crash The Super Bowl” eventually? Is this a logical next step for the brand to drive consumer engagement? Here is what Doritos has used this platform for, and some thoughts about where this might lead to in the future. Long story short: I think it’s a very smart move, let’s see where it’s heading.

You will soon find out more on eYeka’s trend report:

Click to download the "The state of crowdsourcing in 2015" report on eYeka

Before I start describing the dozen of competitions that Doritos has run so far, let’s start with another fact. To ramp up excitement and participation on the Doritos Legion Of The Bold crowdsourcing platform, Doritos and The Marketing Arm ate their own dog food, meaning that they have sought ways to promote it… via crowdsourcing. They have indeed launched two contests:

  • In October 2014 on Mindsumo, a student-only platform, Doritos launched a contest asking for ideas on how to persuade creative fans of Doritos to get excited about the platform. “Doritos is creating a new platform for creative students to have an ongoing voice in the Doritos brand [and] its main purpose will be for fans to help improve the Doritos brand through creative participation. From writing, to photography, to design and video-making, Doritos wants to see what their fans are made of,” the brief explained. “The problem is raising awareness for this new platform. Doritos needs its creative fans to know the platform exists, and persuade them to get excited about learning more and participating. Create a hypothetical marketing campaign to spread awareness for the “Legion of the Bold” at your campus.
  • Around the same days, on Poptent, a new defunct platform, The Marketing Arm launched a contest to get videos that would build awareness and excitement for the Doritos Legion of the Bold platform. “We are asking you to build awareness of—and excitement for—the Doritos Legion of the Bold platform among creative Doritos costumers/consumers with a passion for content creation of many kinds. Your video should tell the story of why Doritos created the Legion of the Bold and to drive new registrations to participate in the program,” the brief said. You will see that hasn’t extremely positive reviews on YouTube.

So, Doritos and their agency have used these to ramp up excitement, as they say. I don’t know if it worked, but at least there is a coherence in the mechanism used – crowdsourcing. Now let’s look at the different types of ideas and content that the chips brand has crowdsourced over Legion Of The Bold. Below is a screenshot of the platform, and further down is a list of the first contests that Doritos has run.

Legion Of The Bold

Doritos’ “Doritos Dinamita” Contest (October to November 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_dinamita_iconFor its very first assignment, Doritos crowdsourced billboard designs to raise awareness about its the Doritos Dinamita sub-line. “We’re looking for one or more Doritos® Dinamita® Billboard ads that will turn heads and create new fans of our rolled snack. Doritos Dinamita is an intensely flavorful rolled tortilla that packs a bold crunch. Get creative and bring the vibrant colors, extreme taste and massive crunch to life in a way that’s as explosive as this snack’s experience.

The winners were announced here (login is needed).

PepsiCo’s “Doritos-Inspired Costume” Contest (October 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_halloween-costume_iconIn its second assignment, Doritos sollicited consumer ideas to activate social media channels, asking them to create Doritos-themed Halloween costume ideas. “Create the boldest Doritos-themed Halloween costume idea ever. Submit a comp image or actual photo so we know what this amazing costume looks like, then let’s see if you can capture that Doritos voice in copy. Write some Twitter- and Facebook-length copy to bring the post to life. Make it funny Make it scary. Whatever you do, just make it awesome enough that it may get a few hundred shares.

The winners, announced here (login needed), were Lauren Bernal, for “If she got orange fur, they’re gonna purr,” Manny Haddad, for “A backlit Jacked-O-Lantern mask,” and Jennifer Reeves, for “Count DOR-Acula has a new craving for Doritos.”

PepsiCo’s “Holiday Jingle” Contest (October to November 2014)


Contest number 3 asked consumers to create Doritos jingle for the holidays. “Calling all singers and songwriters. Create your best and boldest Doritos jingle for the holidays. We’re looking for holiday jingles that showcase Doritos and get into the festive spirit while still unleashing the Doritos® boldness we know and love. Use one of the tracks provided and knock our stockings off.

The winners were announced here (login needed).

Doritos’ “Doritos Bold Mission” Contest (November 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_bold-missionDoritos crowdsourced promotional event ideas to execute in the week before the Super Bowl that would “challenge fans to release their inner boldness” in buzzworthy ways. “We believe that when opportunity knocks, boldness answers the door and extends a red carpet. And since 2013 we’ve been out to prove it, offering our fans once-in-a-lifetime experiences to let their inner boldness take over. Come up with an idea for a Bold Mission that Doritos will execute in Phoenix the week before the Super Bowl that challenges fans to release their inner boldness in an unforgettable and buzzworthy way.

The winners were announced here (login needed).

Doritos’ “Holiday Music Video” Contest (November to December 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_jingleThen, in contest number 5, Doritos crowdsourced music videos for a Doritos holiday song, “Jolly Old St. Nick,” that would incorporate Doritos in a festive and comical way. “The world holds its breath for your visual genius. It’s time to drop your latest video and get that cash. We’re in for the perfect music video for our Doritos holiday song, “Jolly Old St. Nick.” Perfect your moves, deck out your wardrobe, and show us your attitude for the most original and boldest Doritos music video to celebrate the holidays,” the brief explained.

The results were announced here (login needed).

Doritos’ “Crash The Super Bowl Movie Poster” Contest (December 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_posterDoritos crowdsourced ads, asking fans to create “movie posters” for any of the consumer-made commercials that made this year’s Crash the Super Bowl Semi-Finals. Dan Lamoureux blogged about that contest too. “We’re looking for bold Doritos movie poster ads that will turn heads and spark excitement to vote on the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl finalists. […] Create a Crash the Super Bowl inspired movie poster for one of the semifinalist ads that celebrates Doritos and brings a new spark to the contest and inspires fans to vote on our finalist ads. Each poster may feature only one semi-finalist ad.

The winners were announced here (login needed again), 7 winners won 10 prizes of 200$ each.

Doritos’ “Bold and Trendsetting T-Shirt” Contest (December 2014)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_t-shirt-design-contestPepsiCo’s Doritos brand was crowdsourcing graphic designs that embody the bold expression of Doritos. “Your challenge is to create a new and unique graphic tee design that embodies the bold expression of Doritos. Spark your design chops and ignite your bold imagination—you may get to see your winning design on a consumer. The best t-shirts will inspire the boldest trendsetters to proudly wear them from runway-to-street, and inspire us to give you money. Create a trendsetting, graphic t-shirt design that embodies the boldness of Doritos.

The winners were announced here (login needed again), 3 prizes of 1,000$ went to Julius Dawson for a design called “Doritmati,” Monika Hoang for “Doritos Suit,” and James Shackelford for “Spirit Animal.”

Doritos’ “Script For Doritos Dinamita” Contest (December 2014 to January 2015)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_doritos inamita scriptsDoritos crowdsourced scripts for ads of their Doritos Dinamita rolled tortilla chips. “Your challenge is to create a mind-blowing script for a Doritos Dinamita :30 spot that will turn heads and create new fans of our rolled tortilla chips. We are more than just the hottest snack in town, we’re Doritos Dinamita, a snack whose unforgettable crunch and intense flavors set it apart from the rest. The best :30 spot ideas will bring the vibrant and high-energy Dinamita snack to life in an explosive way. Think outside the bag and do something creative and fun, something that would make you want to share it with your friends when you saw it.

The winners of the Create a script for a Doritos Dinamita ad challenge were “Best Friend or Dinamita?” by Rebecca Eisenhuth, “Horror Villain” by Chad Oliver and “Save the Last Dinamita” by Rena Varghese.

Doritos’ “Trendsetting Tweet” Contest (January 2015)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_trendsetting-tweetDoritos challenged its platform users to submit tweet and hashtag ideas that were “bold enough to break through the noise and excitement” around the Super Bowl. “Create a tweet and hashtag that are bold enough to break through the noise and excitement around the Super Bowl for the consumer-generated ads we’ll air on the Super Bowl as part of the Doritos Crash The Super Bowl promotion. Make it funny. Make it bold. The best Doritos Super Bowl tweet and hashtag submission could end up on our Twitter (and trending) during the Super Bowl.

The winners of the challenge were “My love for Doritos will never be deflated #SuperBold” by Jason Long, “#letyourcrunchROAR” by Marisa Price, “#NachoOrdinaryCommercial” by Rob Blaze, “#SuperBowlSnackFails” by Liat Mascho and “Help! My husband’s a Manchild! #feedthemanchild” by Frank Limbaugh.

Doritos’ “Love Ballad” Contest (January to February 2015)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_love-balladDoritos, the PepsiCo brand, challenged fans to create original song lyrics and music videos for Doritos for Valentine’s Day. “Love is in the air, and we are looking for a love ballad for Doritos tortilla chips just in time for Valentine’s Day. We want lyrics and a short 0:30-1:00 music video that proves your love for Doritos. Pick one of the two base tracks provided, then make the lyrics and video bold enough to warm the coldest heart. The best music videos will have us swooning and laughing all at once. We may even post your ballad on our social pages so the world will know of your creative genius and love of Doritos chips.

The winners, announced via newsletter, were “A man’s true love” by Israel Brod, “A guy in love with his Doritos” by David Sartin and “Cool Ranch Doritos” by Walter English.

Doritos’ “Bold and Trendsetting Images” Contest (January to February 2015)

doritos_legion-of-the-bold_trendsetting-imagesDoritos tasked creatives on its platform to create “bold and trendsetting” images featuring Doritos for Instagram. “Create a uniquely Doritos image/caption that hails everyone’s favorite Doritos attributes: our iconic triangle shape, incomparable crunch and bold flavors. Make it funny. Make it eye-catching. Make it awesome, because the best posts could end up on Doritos Instagram and be seen by thousands.

Winners (login is still needed) were 8 people who won 10 prizes of 500$ as well as points that the platform is working with. The three first prize winning ideas were “Insta Doritos Gram” by Rebecca Eisenhuth, “Kiss the love of your life” by Barb Oswald and “Doritos with Candle” by Rena Varghese.

I will stop there as I am not sure it makes a lot of sense to list all the contests. Not only would it lengthen the post, but I guess both Doritos and The Marketing Arm want to crowdsource marketing ideas silently, without me posting everything publicly. As I write this, there are two other live contests, one which asks the “Legion” to create a digital banner ad for Doritos Dinamita, and another one which asks for consumer engagement ideas that Doritos could use in its 2016 (!) marketin plan. And others are “coming soon.”

Legion of the Bold on March 6th 2015n

The above is just an illustration of the type of ideas and content that are being asked for by the brand and its agency, which is an evolution from the famous “Crash The Super Bowl” video contest, which may or may not run again next year. I think it’s useful for the discussion below, in which I wonder whether PepsiCo launched that platform to bypass its existing crowdsourcing partners, including eYeka, or not?

Conclusion: Are FMCG Companies Trying To Bypass Platforms?

So we have seen that Doritos has organized the Crash The Super Bowl contest for years now, and all the above example show that the brand is evolving its usage of creative crowdsourcing. From a big, annual PR-event with Super Bowl media buying, to the continuous platform with very tactical marketing questions, there is definitely a shift.

Now, I wonder if it was organized and decided by PepsiCo (or FritoLay) which is marketing the Doritos brand, or if it was pushed by the agencies who see a great way to have a continuous business relationship with Doritos while engaging consumers (here’s a critical post about “consumers” as a term) in the brand’s marketing. While search about Legion of the Bold, I saw that a freelance copywriter and content strategist, Eric Jorgensen, worked on the concept even before the platform was release. So I asked him:

It seems that the whole idea of Legion of the Bold – if I’m not mislead here – was initiated by the agency. And Doritos accepted, of course, probably seeing it as a great way to take their consumer engagement to the next level. But this time, it’s much more “undercover” than the big game’s video contest, they didn’t comunicate about it at all. Do they see this “Legion” community as a valuable asset to integrate in their – or their angency’s – marketing process? Is this an example of the crowd being intergated in the company’s resources, i.o.w. is that an illustration of Crowd Capital Theory? I believe so.

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PepsiCo is not the only company to evolve its crowdsourcing practice, Unilever is doing it too, in a different way. The FMCG giant, has developed a new platform called Unilever Foundry Ideas, which will act as a central hub for crowdsourcing briefs, including those on eYeka. March Matthieu, CMO of the company, talked about the Foundry in June 2014 already, explaining that it was a way to let the company drive innovation through collaboration. Unilever says will let Foundry multiply idea-generation “tenfold” by 2020 and “harness capabilities” from outside the business.

Interestingly, The Drum notes that “Unilever is no stranger to crowdsourcing, having undertaken a number of initiatives [already] with the likes of third party platforms such eYeka in recent years, but the launch of its own hub signals a long-term commitment to it as a growth driver.” Does that mean that Unilever is not satisfied with what these platforms do and the value they deliver? Or is it the contrary, and they are realizing that it’s highly valuable and that they want to take it further – without the dependency on the third-party players?

Does that mean that Unilever is not satisfied with how crowdsourcing platforms deliver? Or do they want to take it further?

I am keenly looking forward to seeing these branded platforms evolve. I personaly don’t think that the world’s biggest brands and companies will phase out crowdsourcing platforms because they fill a very specific gap in the “open creativity” ecosystem. They gather a network of creative users (it’s expensive and long to assemble, believe me), they transform business objectives into compelling tasks (this is very difficult and paramount in the success of any contest), they broadcast this brief on their platforms, they moderate and curate incoming submissions and take care of intellectual property transfer. This is not the job of an FMCG company.

I personaly don’t think that companies will phase out crowdsourcing platforms

Proof in point: this whole post describes how a crowdsourcing platform, Flockstar, operated by an agency, The Marketing Arm takes care of the crowdsourcing process for Doritos. So there will be new and innovative entrants in the “open marketing” or “open innovation” field, but it won’t be the role of big companies to totally internalize the resource and the process. For more insights into crowdsourcing, its evolution, or the platforms that facilitate it, stay tuned about my upcoming report on eYeka’s website. Join the discussion below in the comment section, and by using #CSreport2015 on social media. Thank you for reading.

Soon on eYeka, this crowdsourcing trend report:

Click to download the "The state of crowdsourcing in 2015" report on eYeka



  1. Reblogged this on Phd in Strategic Management and commented:
    Great summary of crowdsourcing in marketing of some of the biggest FMCG giants. In my view, platforms construct and target a crowd for creating #crowdcapital. When giants like Pepsi Co. and Unilever can do so themselves, should they? Or better still, when should they? How long and what does it take for them do not use platforms? Food for thoughts for sure.


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