For the first time in more than four decades, Fritos corn chips are getting a new marketing campaign, but don't look for the PepsiCo owned snack to break out the star of its now not politically correct mascot from the last advertising push.
The ad blitz will be mostly digital and it is titled “Here’s to the Moment.” The corn chips -- which are now available in 24 varieties -- are highlighted as a companion to memorable events in people’s lives, such as watching big football games with friends. The marketer overseeing the project, Frito-Lay Vice President of Marketing Sadira Furlow, brought a personal touch to this campaign. The inspiration came from her dad showing up with a bag of Fritos for his first date with her mom more than 50 years ago, according to the company.
This slice of life approach is a far cry from the previous star of the Fritos commercials who came complete with a peppy jingle. Dubbed "The Frito Bandito," it was an animated character featured in spots from 1967 to 1971. "The Bandito" was created by the famed ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding and the talent behind the character was a powerhouse of cartoons at the time. Tex Avery of "Looney Toons" fame and the man behind such characters as Porky Pig directed the spots and they were voiced by his colleague, the legendary Mel "Bugs Bunny" Blanc. For the voice of the "Bandito" Blanc used an exaggerated Mexican accent and the cartoon featured an unkempt, unshaven figure.
While the chips may have been in good taste, some thought the commercials were not. In 1968, two Mexican-American advocacy groups -- the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee in Washington, D.C. and the Involvement of Mexican-Americans in Gainful Endeavors (IMAGE) in San Antonio, Texas – voiced complaints about the stereotype portrayed in the commercials. Some changes were made to the spots but within three years, "The Frito Bandito" was discontinued.
For its new campaign, Frito-Lay says it is planning for a significant investment through the end of the year across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Frito-Lay is also working on a partnership with Hormel Chili that kicks off in November – the heart of the NFL and college football seasons – that will include co-branded recipes and in-store displays.
Fritos recently partnered with the Carry The Load initiative, as they produced nearly 22 million special bags to honor the sacrifices made by America’s war heroes. That number represented the total members who have served in the military (including active-duty) since records began, and that includes active-duty service members.
Along with that, Fritos’ parent company, PepsiCo, donated $100,000 to Carry The Load to support its ongoing efforts to provide healing services via non-profit partners for the mind, body and soul of warriors.