Frito-Lay is going Hollywood in its online efforts by assigning a major piece of business to a Los Angeles-based interactive shop.
The Plano, Texas-based snack food marketer last week awarded interactive agency of record status for the Doritos brand to Box Top/iXL, Los Angeles.
The shop beat out incumbent DDB Interactive, Chicago; Razorfish, New York; and a joint pitch by Red Sky Interactive, San Francisco, and Agency.com, New York.
All of the participating agencies, except Box Top, are affiliated with the Omnicom Group. Frito-Lay's traditional advertising for major brands is handled by shops within the Omnicom agency roster.
Box Top president Kevin Wall said the relationship with Frito-Lay will include additional sites for more of the company's brands in sites to roll out over 1998.
A Frito-Lay representative, however, would not confirm that the assignment extended beyond Doritos but said, "Considering the presentation Box Top gave was very dynamic, we'll see what they bring to bear [on other Frito-Lay business]." She also hinted the snack food maker may consider tapping other shops in the review for smaller assignments.
The Frito-Lay representative said Box Top was chosen over the others because of its "full-service capabilities and strong links to the entertainment and music industries specifically." Wall has produced entertainment events such as an AIDS fundraising concert in memory of Queen lead singer Freddy Mercury.
For Doritos, Box Top will create the brand's first-ever site, meant to reflect the hip, MTV style of the most recent campaign from Doritos agency BBDO, New York. The venue is currently under construction at www.doritos.com.
In addition, Frito-Lay wants the Doritos site to be a destination that offers entertaining content for visitors. The account is said to be worth some $300,000 in annual revenue for Box Top.
BBDO participated in the review in an "advisory role" to Frito-Lay, according to a BBDO representative. Although the nature of that role is unclear, several sources said BBDO had recommended that Box Top be included in the competition.
Box Top is a 350-person shop with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in Memphis, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. Its clients include Mattel, Guess and SegaSoft. The company also develops software, including a videoconferencing product called iVisit.
To date, Frito-Lay's primary online presence has been an umbrella site featuring basic information on the company's ten snack brands, created by DDB Interactive, Chicago.
"One thing about entertainment is that you can always push the envelope in technology and design," said Wall. "Now we're bringing that to Madison Avenue."