Frito-Lay reimagines Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘Push It’ in Super Bowl ad for Flamin’ Hot brands

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay revealed the details of its co-branded Super Bowl campaign for Doritos and Cheetos Flamin’ Hot, including the full in-game spot starring musicians Megan Thee Stallion and Charlie Puth, per an announcement.
  • The ad, previously teased through a series of trailers, depicts an explorer accidentally dropping her bags of Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch and Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy on the forest floor. A menagerie of animals quickly samples the snacks and reacts to the spicy flavor, with their noises coalescing into a reimagined version of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” featuring Puth and Megan Thee Stallion.
  • To support the ad, Frito-Lay will debut a Flamin’ Hot Hub on Feb. 5 carrying information on its Flamin’ Hot portfolio, recipe ideas and auxiliary big game content. Visitors can subscribe to receive an email newsletter dedicated to Flamin’ Hot announcements around partnerships and merchandise, while the marketer is plotting other activations to stir the pot around the Super Bowl on social media.

Dive Insight:

Frito-Lay is leveraging the massive stage of the Super Bowl to shine a light on its Flamin’ Hot Doritos and Cheetos offerings, a product lineup that has inspired cult-like devotion and an extensive — even controversial — mythos. This is the first appearance of the Flamin’ Hot brand at the big game, although the marketer’s Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho flavor was featured in 2019.

The blockbuster debut arrives as the Flamin’ Hot segment continues a winning streak. The PepsiCo-owned marketer cited data that the spicy-salty snacks category has seen a 12% increase in sales over the past four years, along with robust online discussion. Consumers posted nearly 800,000 tweets about Cheetos Flamin’ Hot over a year-long period, Frito-Lay said, without specifying the time frame.

The Super Bowl campaign focuses on ambassadors who share a kindred spirit with the Flamin’ Hot ethos. One of Megan Thee Stallion’s biggest singles is “Hot Girl Summer,” and the rapper has entered other brand tie-ups along similar lines. Last fall, she developed a custom Hottie Sauce for Popeyes that appeared on its popular chicken sandwich menu item.

In the Frito-Lay commercial, the rapper embodies a fiery songbird and pays homage to Salt-N-Pepa, whose name shares a thematic link with the concept. Puth portrays a beatboxing fox in the 60-second spot that looks to harness some ’80s nostalgia.

Frito-Lay is encouraging consumers to embrace their own spicy side through “Unleash Your Flamin’ Hot” digital components. Fans can tweet their reactions to other brands’ Super Bowl ads live, using the fire emoji to rate commercials, with one flame representing a whiff and five praising a hit. Those who use the #FlaminHot and #Entry hashtags on their reviews will be eligible to win a $500 prize.

Additionally, the marketer designed a custom branded TikTok effect that users of the video-sharing app can apply to posts depicting their mic drop moments, per the announcement. Puth and TikTok creators will promote the filter on gameday, while Cheetos and Doritos will share related content on the platform.

Frito-Lay is enacting an aggressive Super Bowl push this year as snack sales remain resilient. Its Lay’s brand is returning to the event with its first ad in 17 years. The mysterious campaign, which has dropped two teasers, centers around actor Seth Rogen. PepsiCo’s beverage lineup will also be front-and-center, as Pepsi is the halftime show sponsor, though the soft drink isn’t running an in-game spot.

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