The internet is buzzing with a proclaimed “ad war” on PepsiCo’s daughter company, Doritos. The ad attack was delivered via a satirical video spot titled “A Cheesy Love Story – The Ad Doritos Doesn’t Want You to See,” posted by organization SumOfUs on YouTube. Released on January 11th, this viral video has already been seen by almost 1.3 million people. It sends a strong message through its punch line, “Doritos: May Contain Traces of Rainforest,” and accuses the snack producer of destroying rainforests in Southeast Asia by turning them into massive palm oil plantations.
Prior to this ad attack the organization SumofUs, described as “a movement of consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations,” has used some more standard forms of protest. Realizing the power of advertising combined with the daily rising force of the digital world, however, the “war” is now open on a very large and rapidly spreading front, quickly rising armies of followers on both sides and creating an intense online debate.
Their strategy was cleverly planned as the controversial video, produced by the Motion Picture Company, launched simultaneously with the announcement of the Top 10 finalists of Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” user-generated ad contest. The next step, was to target Doritos fans and customers via Facebook and Google followed by the placement of the same ad on buses in UK, all taking part in what they declare it a “five-figure ad buy.” All of this resulted in “Cheesy Love Story” gaining six times more hits on YouTube than front runners in the “Crash the Super Bowl Contest”.
“Rain forests across Southeast Asia are destroyed every day to make way for massive palm oil plantations,” Kaytee Riek, campaign director for SumOfUs, said in a statement. “Given the high profile nature of the Doritos Super Bowl campaign, we’re using the opportunity to educate consumers around the world about PepsiCo’s irresponsible palm oil sourcing policy.”
PepsiCo fought back against the alleged accusations with a following statement from their spokesperson Jay Cooney. “It is no surprise that SumofUs’ continual mischaracterizations of our palm oil commitments are patently false and run counter to the positive reception our policies have received from expert organizations in this arena. PepsiCo has repeatedly stated that we are absolutely committed to 100 percent sustainable palm oil in 2015 and to zero deforestation in our activities and sourcing. This latest public relations stunt, focused on fiction rather than facts, does nothing to foster positive dialogue or affect positive change. We find our policies effective and stand by them.” PepsiCo also provided a link as to where their palm oil policy can be found.
In the meanwhile, we are not only expecting one of the biggest sporting events, but also the biggest and overpriced advertising parade of the year, it seems like the debate is just heating up. Which side are you on?