Ad of the Week – Frito Lay, Share Your Favourite Things

Portfolio brands that drive snacking conversions
TV ads airing in multiple versions
Holiday trimmings and film stars who sing
These are a few of our favourite things 🎵

Oscar Hammerstein may be turning in his grave, but our effort above is on a par with some of the rhymes in PepsiCo’s bumper holiday ad for the brands in its Frito-Lay division. The spot launched last week as a 2-minute film and is already all over TV. 

Frito-Lay is touting the ad, in which Anna Kendrick romps through a version of “My Favourite Things”, as its first step into portfolio branding on TV. That’s half-true – this is their first ad to showcase quite so many brands, but Frito-Lay aired a spot uniting three of its biggest names (Doritos, Cheetos and Tostitos) back in summer. It went over well with audiences, scoring a solid 3-Stars, and looks with hindsight like a test run for this more high-profile work.

In its full version, the ad lands at a very strong 4.5-Stars. There’s not much of a story, so people are responding to the song (cultural references score well with the right brain, as we know from Lemon), Kendrick’s gusto, and the general holiday spirit. The lack of story actually works to Frito-Lay’s advantage, in that it makes the full ad easier to slice up into 15s and 30s versions, all of which have tested very consistently in the mid-4-Star range on Ad Ratings.

The wider question, of course, is whether portfolio ads are a good idea in the first place. Brands work hard to be distinct, and throwing them all together like this can muddy that image. It’s only been two months since Doritos ditched its logo in a high-profile move – and here it is, front and centre. And while spotlighting many brands in one ad can feel like a clever cost-cutting move, there’s evidence that it lessens overall effectiveness – and it’s the smaller brands who lose out most. Like many marketing savings, there’s a hidden cost.

Our in-depth Creative Guidance would go deeper into the data for individual Frito-Lay brands. From our Ad Ratings measures, though, it looks like PepsiCo might dodge the risk. Our Brand Fluency score – how well people felt they recognised the brand – is solid but not exceptional. But Spike – predicting short-term sales – is strong, and the idea of coming together for the holidays is a great thematic fit for a multi-brand ad.

This well-liked ad would be equally credible as a great seasonal one-off or the beginning of a push for more unified branding. If it’s the latter, Frito-Lay will have to be careful that celebration doesn’t turn into confusion when the holiday decorations come down.

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