Doritos returned to the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival with a campaign built around a superstar headline act – Lady Gaga.
Working in tandem with Gaga’s own Born This Way Foundation, the singer headlined the Doritos #BoldStage on 13 March with a concert that fans could on;ly attend if they obtained a ticket by expressing their own bold individuality.
In the days leading up to the show, Doritos unveiled a series of challenges – called Bold Missions – which fans need to complete for a chance to attend the concert show.
Lady Gaga herself announced the initial Bold Mission herself: called #BoldBravery, it asks fans to share a picture or video that expresses their individuality through a bold action using the hashtags #BoldBravery and #BoldStage.
‘I believe that being an individual is the boldest thing you can do,’ explains Lady Gaga. ‘I can’t wait to see all creative, generous, brave and individual acts my fans take to gain access to the show.’
Other Doritos Bold Missions range from raising money as a street performer on Red River, to electric public haircuts or trading your suitcase and everything in it for a Doritos suitcase.
Completing a Bold Mission was the only way for fans to see Lady Gaga play on the Doritos #BoldStage.
The Doritos Bold Missions lived on the campaign miscrosite at http://www.doritos.com/#oldravery, while the brand’s Facebook.com/DoritosUSA, Twitter, Instagram and Vine channels all offered campaign updates.
After successfully completing a mission, winning fans were given SXSW Music and Platinum badges and SXSW Music Festival and Artist Wristbands – and it is these SXSW credentials that were scanned to enter a random draw for tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert.
The marquee brand within PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division sponsors an exclusive performance from the multi-platinum-selling artist’s latest ArtPop album which sits at the centre of its activation programme at this year’s thought leadership, technology and music festival.
‘For many years we have celebrated Doritos fans for their desire to get out of their comfort zone and own the moment. With Bold Missions, we’re going above and beyond to reward these bold choices,’ explains Frito-Lay VP Marketing Ram Krishnan.
‘Thursday night’s performance will kick-off Bold Missions with the ultimate reward for our boldest fans – an unforgettable SXSW concert experience headlined by perhaps the boldest pop star of this generation, Lady Gaga.’
The Doritos #BoldStage at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q is an official SXSW Showcase event and Lady Gaga’s performance was live streamed online at Fuse.tv on and rebroadcast on Fuse, the national music television network.
The super-interactive, larger-than-life, vending machine style Doritos #BoldStage itself, first introduced at last year’s festival (see previous case study)
physically moved location to the iconic Stubb’s Bar-B-Q for the Lady Gaga concert only – to allow 2,000 ‘bold fans’ to experience the show.
Indeed, the venue sponsor must have been delighted to see Gaga arrive on stage smeared in barbecue sauce and mock-roasted on a spit like a pig.
For the other festival nights, the Doritos #BoldStage was situated on its usual lot at Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano
The 2014 edition of the #BoldStage added a new twist – fans were actually invited inside the five-story-tall vending machine for an ‘out-of-this-world’ exclusive musical experience to view the inner workings of the mechanical, interactive stage.
Doritos Bold Missions build further on the brand’s central ‘For the Bold’ big idea – which underpins its global marketing campaign.
The underlying idea is to celebrate the Doritos brand’s legacy of empowering its fans to seize the moment and live boldly.
This latest innovative SXSW sponsorship work iss just is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to communication innovation which first began when it handed over its TV ad airtime to consumer-created commercials so that ‘fans can crash the Super Bowl’
Yet, while Crash The Super Bowl is known for its ‘inclusiveness’, Bold Missions has received some criticisms for its ‘exclusivity’.
As all attendees had to tweet in some form of support of the chip company’s social media marketing campaign, some media outfits, like the New York Times, took a stand against doing.
Gaga, who was also a keynote SXSW speaker, attacked criticism during her on-stage interview by John Norris of Fuse Music News where she fiercely defended her acceptance of corporate support.
‘Without sponsorships, without these companies coming together to help us, we won’t have any more artists in Austin,’ she argued. ‘We won’t have any festivals, because record labels don’t have any” emphatic word deleted “money.’
‘Whoever is writing or saying all those things, you don’t know fuck about the state of the music industry. It’s also about how the artist chooses to engage in these types of relationships. What’s type of relationship, what’s the philosophy behind the collaboration? Do you have things in common, do you not? When you come to do the performance how much time do you put into it? Do you really care about the show or are you just taking the cheque?’
Nevertheless, such as a huge corporate sponsored show is certainly a reflection of the changing nature of the SXSW music festival, which was originally known as a showcase for un-signed and lesser known musicians.
Indeed, Gaga’s Dorito’s show was the only superstar concert backed by a major commercial brand at the 2014 festival.
This year also saw SXSW include Jay-Z and Kanye playing for Samsung
and Coldplay performing for iTunes
(although admittedly both brands have a stronger and more direct connection to music than Doritos.).
Indeed, this year saw more people than ever suggest that the festival is becoming a bloated hub of non-musical corporate marketing by the likes of Doritos and Pepsi.
But not everyone is critical.
‘The willingness of artists to partner with brands happened because revenues dried up from physical discs,’ said Peter Gannon (a former rocker in a band called Calla and McCann Erickson VP) who was at SXSW looking at new talent.
‘The labels are not going to get a lot of sympathy because they were not very good to artists. At least when a brand is involved, there is an understanding that we are borrowing the cachet that the artist has built and we try to make high-quality projects that give value to both the client and the artist. ‘
Doritos Bold Bravery Website