Specially marked bags of the brand's Late Night varieties bear markers that are recognizable by augmented reality technology -- technology that enhances video imagery with computer-generated graphics in real-time. The concerts are being billed as the first-ever augmented reality experiences to showcase live-action video within a 3-D, interactive environment.
Users log onto Doritoslatenight.com and point the printed marker on the bag at a Web cam to launch virtual performances that seem to "pop directly out of the bag." In addition, the technology allows users to change the video performances experienced (two songs by blink-182, one song by Big Boi) each time simply by changing the way they hold or move the snack bag.
Participants can also enter for a chance to win tickets to a live blink-182 show in the city of their choice this summer. The band's tour, launching July 24 in Las Vegas, will stop in more than 40 cities.
The novel online events -- described by the brand as "concerts in the palm of your hand" -- are the latest in an ongoing series of innovative efforts focused on involving and giving control to fans of the Doritos brand.
The PepsiCo Frito-Lay division brand has been structuring its marketing around those concepts and continuous dialogue with its fans since 2006, when a new Doritos marketing team led by Director of Marketing Rudy Wilson took over.
Like the spicier, more "uninhibited" flavors in the new Late Night line, which was launched in April, the augmented reality concerts reflect the reality that young people in particular "have different sides during the day and late at night," says Wilson. "They may eat different foods. What else do they do late at night? They like to listen to music. And they want to be able to control where and when they listen to the music."
The special-edition snack bags will be available for an unspecified, limited time at retailers nationwide in support of the Late Night launch. Whether more such concerts are developed will depend on what Doritos hears in its dialogue with consumers via social media and other channels, Wilson says.
Doritos' most visible implementation of the "giving fans control" concept to date has been its "Crash the Super Bowl" program, which asks consumers to create its advertising for the big game. Doritos became the first brand to broadcast a consumer-generated ad during 2007's Super Bowl, and launched careers for the winning video creators in 2008 and 2009. Last year's commercial topped USA Today's advertising meter for the event.
Other programs have included the launch of Flavor Shots, which allow consumers to control flavor intensity with flavor packets; a promotion enabling fans to design the first consumer-generated Xbox Live Arcade game; another that enables consumers to determine which of two new flavors continued at retail and which was discontinued; and another in which consumers were given the chance to name a new flavor of the chips.