Super Bowl and Breathalyzers: Frito Lay’s Product Winner.
In time for this year’s Super Bowl, Frito Lay introduced their limited-edition Tostitos “party safe bag”, combining Super Bowl and Breathalyzers for a winning product combination.
A January 24th article written by Tim Nudd and posted on AdWeek.com, an advertising industry website and publication, featured Frito Lay’s Tostitos “party safe bag”. The limited edition bag could tell if Super Bowl watchers had been drinking and help them get home safely with some help from Uber.
In 2015 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NITSA), reported 45 alcohol-related deaths on Super Bowl night alone. In response, Frito Lay, in partnership with Uber and Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), created the unique Tostitos packaging that when breathed on could detect traces of alcohol on a person’s breath. Frito Lay and creative partner Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the unique packaging with the specific goal of removing 25,000 impaired drivers from the road Super Bowl night.
According to the AdWeek article, the bag was engineered with a sensor connected to a microcontroller calibrated to detect small traces of alcohol on a person’s breath. Unlike many evidential breathalyzers used in Law Enforcement or DOT alcohol testing programs that can read specific amounts of alcohol and give evidential accurate readings, the Tostitos bag detected only the presence of alcohol on the breath. The sensor on the front of the bag turned red if it detected any trace of alcohol and formed the image of a steering wheel on the front of the bag, along with an Uber code and a “Don’t drink and drive” message. The bag also used near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allowed consumers to tap the bag with their phone to call an Uber ride.
Roger Baran, a spokesperson for the company responsible for creating the special bag, told AdWeek, “We’re proud to introduce to the world the first bag of chips that gets you home safe”.
In our experience, MADD historically declines participation in promotions that suggest it’s ok to drink and drive. However, this promotion was a perfect fit for MADD, as the presence of any alcohol on a person’s breath triggered the “Don’t drink and drive” message and the incentive to call Uber for a safe lift home.
Jennifer Saenz, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer commented, “Whether watching the big game at a friend’s house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away. By simply entering a participating Tostitos UPC code in the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off an Uber ride.”
The technology and how it was integrated into consumer packaging and mass produced was extremely clever and portrayed the chip maker as a responsible and concerned brand. While the sensor technology used in the bag stopped short of telling consumers how much they had to drink, the change of color on the bag most likely was an effective way of giving consumers pause. And the Uber discount was the incentive behind the information to aid consumers in making a responsible choice.
The promotion was thoughtfully structured to allow Frito Lay to quantify their efforts in reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road. Certainly they will be able to report total number of bags of chips sold correlated to Uber code redemption numbers. However, correlating that data with NHTSA traffic data and accidents that did or didn’t occur as a result of consuming their product will be difficult, if not impossible.
Nonetheless, when brands respond to social crises or challenges with clever solutions, it makes consuming those brands more enjoyable.