Every brand manager knows that media has fragmented, consumers are in control and that big headlines like "Try our new flavour! It is new and improved and extra spicy fresh!" get about as much attention as a double glazing salesman in the tropics. The challenge is what to do.
Doritos new iD3 campaign is a great example of the Brand as Entertainer strategy.
It is an amazing piece of work and really goes well beyond the multi-level online game. It has a promotion to drive uptake, a brand teaser campaign to build expectation, on pack code integration to drive trial, sophisticated integration of Facebook Connect to make registration easy and extend communication in social networks, a call out to bloggers that talk up the campaign, integration of retail and prize partners to help cover costs - and that is just looking at the surface!
Clearly the game is central to this promotion and it is clear that Doritos have put some real effort into it. It uses branched video and 3D rendered game levels to keep people interested. The puzzles are complex enough that it isn't just a "skills-based question" promotion requirement, but a real effort to challenge the audience which assuming it is younger and familiar with gaming should work incredibly well. For people that use Facebook Connect, personal content is brought into the game to make it more relevant, and achieve the techie cool factor.
What remains to be seen is if the campaign is central to the brand advertising that is always the heartland of FMCG launches. Will the advertising drive people to the game? Will the winners feature in the advertising? Will mass media be used to offer clues that are critical to success? This is incredibly hard to achieve but if it happens it would put this campaign in the leagues of RBK's Whodonit and Microsoft's Vanishing Point. These campaigns were also fully integrated using DM packs for engaged participants and events to generate even more buzz.
The only challenge for the campaign -- which probably has the brand planners hopping in circles -- is the connection between the idea of "identity theft" that drives the game and a new lime and curry flavoured crisp which is the product. The crisps do feature in the movies and the game but it is hard to demonstrate food product features and benefits in games.
All that said, there will be a lot of gamers out there fully entertained and talking up Doritos. And assuming the crisps taste great, we can be sure they'll tell their friends and the whole lot of them will all buy lots of Doritos.
Promo score: 8 out 10