It’s anyone’s guess just how many Americans—beset with financial worries, pandemic dread and political upheaval—could hardly wait to see the complete adventures of Flat Matthew, the pancaked version of Matthew McConaughey that made its internet debut in January. But for those who were on their edge of their seats, there’s good news: Doritos’ full-length Super Bowl spot debuted earlier today and Flat Matthew is now fully … inflated.
The big reveal isn’t so big as it might have been. After all, Doritos has been dropping teasers—three of them, in fact—that gradually lifted the curtain on the full story. Unaccountably reduced to a two-dimensional existence, the Academy Award-winning actor suffers many travails, including being sucked up by a Roomba, before being restored to his fully inflated self after—you guessed it—munching on some Doritos 3D Crunch.
Various episodes in Flat Matthew’s trying life include an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, with Mindy Kaling on hand to express her shock and pity. Frito-Lay’s longtime agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners constituted the creative force behind the 60-second spot, for which Damien Chazelle served as director.
The three marquee names—Kaling, Kimmel and McConaughey—represent a continuance of the celebrity-studded course that Frito-Lay has charted in the years since it retired its Crash the Super Bowl contest. A fan-favorite for half a generation, Crash invited everyday consumers to create their own Doritos ads. Contestants would submit their spots for judging, with the winning entry airing during the Big Game. The campaign ran from 2006 to 2016 and resulted in creative work that was every bit as good as what you’d see from a plush carpet ad agency.
After the Crash
After retiring Crash the Super Bowl, Frito-Lay resorted to the time-tested traditions of Big Game advertising—aka paying celebrities to clown around.
Last year, Lil Nas X, who was still riding the wave of Old Town Road fame, hawked Doritos Cool Ranch by engaging in an Old West dance showdown. Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage faced each other in a 2018 rap-off pitting Doritos Blaze against Mountain Dew Ice. Then in 2019, Frito-Lay’s checkbook came out for Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys to sing and dance about Flamin’ Hot Doritos.
It’s worth pointing out that Doritos 3D Crunch, for all the McConaughey hype it’s getting, isn’t a new product. Back in the late 1990s, the research and development wizards at Frito-Lay figured out a way to puff their chips full of air to create an orange, three-pointed pillow that, in 1998, debuted as Doritos 3D. After retiring the product in the early 2000s, the Frito-Lay snack brand announced its return in December.
Corporate has tacked “Crunch” onto the name to help spotlight two new flavors: spicy ranch and chili cheese nacho.
As endorsements go, this is not McConaughey first gig. Four years ago, he signed on as Wild Turkey’s first creative director and starred in a six-minute film about the Kentucky straight bourbon. As he samples some select batch bottled before Prohibition, McConaughey does look a bit more personally satisfied than he does crunching a Doritos chip. But these endorsements pay handsomely, and there’s no reason to suspect that McConaughey, who reportedly lives on a $6 million estate in Austin, Texas, doesn’t enjoy Wild Turkey and Doritos at the same time.
For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2021 Ad Tracker and the rest of our stories about the Big Game. And join us on the evening of Feb. 7 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials anywhere.