Editorial: Audience participation is where the future lies

Full of fat, additives and calories, how do you keep a brand like Doritos relevant among today's health-aware consumers?

Given it's a youth brand, the answer must involve the internet, something Doritos seems to have clocked.

It's not planning to talk at consumers with its usual 30-second spot featuring young people hanging around together. No, this time it's going deep. It's going to ask the public to submit short films, which it will run as advertising that will replace the aforementioned fluff from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

This is a strategy that it has used in the US, with some success. It ran an ad, created by 5 Point Productions and voted for by consumers, during the 2007 Super Bowl. This year, it asked wannabe rock stars to sing a ballad about Doritos, the winner of which was also aired in the Super Bowl.

The winner was one Kina Grannis from Austin, Texas. Her appropriately cheesy ballad rang out to 100 million Americans earlier this month during the Super Bowl adbreaks. If you type the words "Kina Grannis" and "Doritos" into Google, you get a healthy 376,000 hits.

In the US, the ad inviting consumers to participate was devised by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, here, AMV is doing the honours. It has created a copy-heavy print ad, which supplies a brief exhorting potential filmmakers to avoid "ambassadors' receptions" and "annoying jingles you can't get out of your head". An excited AMV creative leaked the execution online, which means the initiative has gone public before the Doritos website is ready.

This is future-facing advertising at its best. The print medium is being used to drive awareness of a website, which is inviting consumers to create a television commercial (with £20,000 of prize money in the offing). There will most likely also be online voting and a lot of PR coverage. All we need is some direct marketing and we'll have crossed the media spectrum. People will be talking a lot more about Doritos than they have for some time, and, even better, there'll be little mention of the snack's high fat content.