Frito-Lay deepens World Cup strategy with age-old naming debate


    • Frito-Lay is continuing its FIFA World Cup campaign with an ad titled “Soccer or Football,” per details shared with Marketing Dive. The spot airs nationally on television and digital channels through the conclusion of the tournament.
    • Football star Peyton Manning and three-time FIFA World Cup player David Beckham star in the spot, going to extreme lengths to argue the difference between football and soccer. Additional cameos are made by other soccer stars. 
    • Frito-Lay is also launching a “Snack Cards” activation on social media on Nov. 29 that plays off of penalty cards and offers the chance for consumers to win free chips. The effort follows other World Cup plays by the brand, including its Pass the Ball Challenge and rollout of limited-edition flavors.

    While many of this year’s World Cup campaigns aim to bring people together, Frito-Lay is looking to reignite the age-old debate regarding if the sport should be called football or soccer. 

    A star-studded spot begins with Peyton Manning walking into a room with David Beckham and asking, “Are you watching soccer?” after which a tense argument begins. Directed by Michael Bay (“Transformers”), the two discuss the topic while snacking on Frito-Lay products, eventually going to extreme measures like asking their digital followers if the game is soccer or football and even enlisting a small army of “soccer moms” to participate.

    Other soccer stars make a cameo in the spot, including Brandi Chastain, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Tim Howard. The commercial will air in a long-form cut as well as in 60-, 30-, 15- and 6-second versions tailored to digital. 

    In addition to the commercial, Frito-Lay unveiled a social media challenge that lives on the brand’s Instagram stories. Starting Nov. 29 during the USA vs. Iran game, viewers at home can win yellow bags of Lay’s when a referee pulls a yellow card and a bag of Doritos when the referee pulls a red card. To be eligible, users must follow Lays and Doritos on Instagram and seek links via the brands’ stories that unlock a chance to win. 

    The move follows previous World Cup programs from the PepsiCo snack division, including the launch of its Pass the Ball Challenge. Starting in October, fans who bought any Frito-Lay product marked with World Cup packaging could scan a QR code to be invited to upload a photo of their face to a digital soccer ball. Users can also interact with various images to see who each person is rooting for, and the first 350,000 people to register received a nonfungible token with an image of themselves on it. At the same time, the brand also unveiled three limited-edition products themed to the World Cup: Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño, Lay’s Adobadas and Lay’s Wavy Carnitas Street Tacos. 

    World Cup advertising is in full swing across the board. Budweiser in September unveiled an uplifting “The World is Yours To Take” campaign starring soccer players Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr. and Raheem Sterling. The same month, Coca-Cola launched its “Believing in Magic” platform that focuses on the authentic connection shared between soccer fans. Most recently, McDonald’s rolled out a  “Wanna go to McDonald’s?” commercial spanning 75 global markets and multiple languages.


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