Totino’s Makes Snacking Weird With ‘Area 425’

By Kyle O'Brien 

Totino’s, the frozen pizza treat company that appeals to those who want a quick, hot snack, is finding different ways to insert its signature pizza rolls into odd snacking scenarios in a new campaign from Dentsu Creative.

Totino’s Area 425 is a snacking wormhole existing in the space between getting home from school and dinner being ready. 425 refers to the temperature for cooking Totino’s Pizza Rolls to crispy perfection.

The campaign represents two years of shifting the brand strategy and focus to teens—apparently one in five teens will eat pizza on any given day, according to a study by Pediatrics.


“Back-to-school is a critical time when parents are reestablishing routines and grocery lists for the new school year,” said Taylor Roseberry, Totino’s brand experience manager in a statement. “We know teens have heavy influence over the snacks their parents buy and Totino’s pizza rolls are filling, easy for teens to prep on their own and are customizable to dip with favorite sauces.”

In order to earn the coveted freezer space at grocery stores, Totino’s and Dentsu Creative established the new creative platform of Area 425.

“Area 425 time’s become sacred for these teens,” said Dentsu creative account director Kelsey Ann Bassel in a statement. “Couch time means they get to be on-screens having ‘me time’ whether that is TV, on TikTok or playing video games. We want to meet teens in their moment—and influence them to start asking mom for Totino’s as their go-to snack.”

Spots and concepts

The spots push the limits of reality, as in the “Ask Mom” spot where a teen stands at a freezer in a store yelling for his mom as a creepy Totino’s creature stares back at him.

The character, called “Toti,” is not made from real Totino’s, but injection-molded foam that was hand-painted to look toasted. The clients actually brought the costume home to the General Mills office and are setting up a little display with a bust of “Toti,” according to Dentsu Creative.

Dentsu leaned on practical effects to have props look more real in the final product, which was also less laborious in post-production.

The “Pizza Brains” are packed with fresh and very-real Totino’s. In the spot, two guys are sitting on a couch, and both reveal they are thinking of Totino’s as they munch them from their skull bowls.

The nose prosthetic in “Toe-Tea-Nose” is about four inches tall and pokes out about three inches. The effect of sucking up tea through the nose is achieved by two tubes running down each nostril to drip the water out and then playing the shot in reverse with some digital enhancement to complete the effect in post-production, according to Dentsu Creative.

“We want to reward viewers for watching by continuing to ramp up the visual interest as they watch—so the longer they stay with the content the more entertaining the experience will be,” said Dentsu Creative creative director Bo Jacobson in a statement.

Other spots include one that mimics a telenovela and one with a sauce that includes everything.

The spots were directed by Emma Debany, “who has an incredible grasp of the surreal and the absurd—and we needed that to achieve our genre-fluid ambitions,” said Dentsu Creative creative director Alyssa Ollis in a statement.

Nailing storyboards early with the client and having a full rehearsal day were critical in getting talent comfortable and excited to tackle all content capture over the two-day shoot.