Doritos Asks Users for Videogame Ideas

NEW YORK Doritos is continuing its embrace of consumer-directed advertising with a program for videogamers, who are being asked to submit a game concept that Microsoft will build for its Xbox 360 gaming platform.

The “Unlock Xbox” push is soliciting 500-word concept ideas for a game that is meant to reflect the Doritos brand image, whether emphasizing the snack food’s shape, flavor or alignment with “boldness” and “intensity.” After winnowing entries to five finalists, Microsoft will build prototypes of the games that visitors to Doritos’ Web site,, can vote on to determine a winner. Microsoft game developers will work with the winner to build the game, due for release next summer.

The campaign follows Doritos’ much-heralded “Crash the Super Bowl” contest that ran a consumer-generated spot during the Super Bowl. The Frito-Lay brand, part of PepsiCo, followed that up in March with a contest for users to choose a new Doritos flavor.

“It’s not about what’s the next tactic in consumer-generated advertising. It’s more about starting a dialog and finding the best ways to engage with the consumer,” said Rudy Wilson, brand manager at Doritos. “We know they love Doritos and they have other loves. How do we combine the loves?”

The promotion is one of several twists on the consumer-created advertising craze that took root last year. Brands like KFC have mined consumer-generated media sites like YouTube for material to form commercials, rather than ask consumers to shoot them, and MasterCard has asked consumers for new twists on its Priceless tagline to appear with a professionally shot commercial. During the Super Bowl, the National Football League and Chevrolet did not include consumers in the production of their ads, instead asking only for concepts that could be turned into spots by professionals.

Wilson said both of Doritos’ forays into consumer-generated advertising amounted to successes. The Super Bowl ad contest drew over 1,000 entries, and the winning entry placed in the top 10 on USA Today‘s much-watched ranking of ads viewers most enjoyed. The “Fight for the Flavor” campaign attracted 100,000 submissions.

In constructing its own videogame, Doritos is following in the footsteps of Burger King, which last year built its own Xbox games featuring its mascot and sold them at its fast-food outlets for $3.99. Burger King sold more than 3 million games, which helped earn its ad agency, MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Titanium Grand Prix last month at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Unlike the Burger King games, the Doritos version will be available free at the Xbox Live Arcade, an online service where users can download games to play on their Xbox consoles. The winning game will only be available on the Xbox platform.

Doritos agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners will promote the contest with ads carrying the tagline, “You dream it. We build it.” The ads will appear on the Xbox Live platform, Xbox store kiosks, MSN, online gaming sites like Gamespot and in live gaming events through the summer.

Doritos is accepting game ideas until July 29. The following month it will post the five finalists it jointly selects with Microsoft. In October, visitors to can play beta versions of the finalists’ concepts and vote on the best one. Doritos plans to announce the winner in November.