From the ads to the crowds to the halftime show, this year’s Super Bowl is bound to look different. Nonetheless, brands are gearing up for one of the biggest nights in advertising with a new marketing playbook made especially with homebound fans in mind.
For the first time ever, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay will run three original spots during the Super Bowl, tackling its entire portfolio of snack foods like Doritos and Cheetos. Two of the ads will specifically spotlight the return of star product Doritos 3D Crunch as well as introduce Frito-Lay’s newest Cheeto product, Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix. The commercials will also feature a host of NFL stars, including Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Deion Sanders, and Troy Aikman. The large-scale product placement commercials are the result of PepsiCo revamping its traditional Super Bowl strategy. While the food and beverage brand typically focuses on its halftime show, this year’s scaled back performance left an opening and budget available for additional marketing initiatives, like its three new commercials. As such, PepsiCo has an increased opportunity to keep specific products top of mind with viewers according to a Gartner report and potentially kickstart snack sales during and after the game.
Each of the Frito-Lay commercials will include a link to its new direct-to-consumer website, Snacks.com, where consumers can purchase any of the featured foods alongside other PepsiCo products. The site is the result of surging snack sales during the Coronavirus pandemic, with PepsiCo creating a way for consumers to get its products without having to physically go to a store during the crisis. Spotlighting its snacks in particular could help sustain those sales and expand PepsiCo’s portfolio presence at the Super Bowl, as it typically focuses on its drinks. However, the addition of three commercials alongside its halftime show means PepsiCo will still have a dominant presence at the sporting event, which could help it stand out from competitors like Coca-Cola or Kraft Heinz. While some Super Bowl advertising mainstays have chosen to sit out of this year’s game due to restricted budgets, PepsiCo will still be joined by other food and beverage marketers, including Anheuser-Busch, Pringles, and M&M’s.
With more consumers watching the Super Bowl from home—and eating at home in general—this year, Frito-Lay’s snack spotlights could stretch its sales surge long after the big game and help PepsiCo boost its profile as a leading food and beverage brand.