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David Beckham and ‘Carnitas’: How Frito-Lay’s World Cup marketing strategy served up celebs and regional snacking flavors

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The world’s biggest brands have bet everything on their marketing strategy during the World Cup, and no wonder, the event is followed by millions of fans globally for almost a month.

And, of course, all those fans organize parties and events with their friends and family to watch the matches, and Frito-Lay wants to be front and center as the go-to snack brand. We spoke with Gustavo Cecilio, senior marketing director of PepsiCo Foods’ Hispanic Business Unit, who shared with Digiday how the brand adopted a multicultural approach to conquer fans’ palates.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about Frito-Lay’s World Cup marketing strategy.

Since soccer is the fastest growing sport in North America and snacks are so intrinsically tied to the home viewing experience, Frito-Lay became the first savory snack brand in its history to partner with the FIFA World Cup. Our goal was to help enhance the World Cup viewing experience at home by launching new flavors, fostering a digital community of soccer enthusiasts and providing entertaining content to keep fans smiling during the commercials.

As the North American regional sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, we implemented different strategies for each region. Considering the importance of Latino consumers to our portfolio and their passion for soccer, we created a campaign for our Frito-Lay Sabritas and Gamesa Cookies brands in Spanish for TV and digital.

How does the brand’s advertising content differ when targeting Hispanic vs. general audiences?

The “La Selección Ideal” creative focuses on Latino families’ traditions of watching games together with passion, pride and enthusiasm. The campaign is full of energy, showcasing the variety of snacks and cookies in scenes as the party referee interacts with the group. The :30s video is narrated by celebrated Mexican sports commentators Martinoli and Luis Garcia and includes 4 players from Mexico’s national soccer team. In addition, we created a :20s spot for the Marias Cookies brand, which celebrates the love of moms and their role in the development of an athlete.

What was the digital/social media strategy implemented to encourage consumers to watch the games with Frito-Lay products?

“The Ideal Selection” and the Marias campaign both have extensions to digital. In addition to that, our brands are sponsoring the Canela TV platform with the “Serie Mundialista” series created specifically for the FIFA World Cup.

How has your advertising content evolved to reach young audiences, especially Generation Z?

With the Gen Z audience in particular, we know that 51 percent look at their phones every few minutes and Gen Z drives and juggles more screens at a time than other generations. As such, we continue to invest more and more in ways to make ourselves visible on screen, to complement our linear campaigns. For example, for our World Cup campaign, we launched the “Pass the Ball Challenge,” an interactive online fan experience that offers consumers the chance to win soccer-inspired products and prizes, including a trip to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final. We created the “Pass the Ball Challenge” platform not only to reward snack and soccer lovers, but also to unite fans as they cheer on their favorite teams.

Why is it key for Frito-Lay to offer products inspired by FIFA teams?

Frito-Lay’s limited-edition FIFA World Cup flavors were inspired by global cuisines to help fans engage with the game and elevate the experience in a way that only Frito-Lay can do. From Lay’s Adobadas to Lay’s Wavy Carnitas Street Tacos and Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper, fans can sample different flavors from around the world while cheering on their team to win.

Tell us about Frito-Lay’s “Soccer or Soccer” campaign and the involvement of sport celebs like David Beckham

The “Soccer or Soccer” campaign seeks to resolve one of the oldest debates in sports. Working with global sports icons like David Beckham and Peyton Manning (along with cameos from other soccer legends) really brought both sides of the argument to life in a dynamic way. Everyone had a great time on set and, at the end of the day, all the talent agreed that no matter what you call the sport, just don’t forget the refreshments at your next party.

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