Look out, Easter Bunny (with your chocolate eggs and jelly beans) -- there’s some new competition headed your way. And his name is Chester Cheetah.
For the first time in the brand’s 67-year history, Frito-Lay snack brand Cheetos is introducing a sweet flavor in the form of Sweetos, snacks that swap the familiar cheese flavor for cinnamon sugar. The limited-time product will hit the market in mid-February, just in time to make its way into Easter baskets.
“Across all our brands, we’re constantly looking for ways to stretch them,” Jeff Klein, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay, tells Marketing Daily. “With Easter and Cheetos, we saw a new opportunity to introduce the brand.”
The company will begin promoting the product in the coming weeks with an effort that takes traditional Easter snacks to task for being inadequate in a series of digital videos, Klein says. The campaign will also include the introduction of the “Eggerator,” a digital tool that enables consumers to decorate digital eggs in a mischievous fashion.
“Our plans are to come in and poke fun at some of the brands that take themselves too seriously,” Klein says. “Cheetos is a brand that we talk about as ‘family fun.’ We’re interested in any occasion where Chester can insert himself.”
The introduction of a sweet flavor profile for Cheetos is in line with Frito-Lay’s overall strategy of trying to find new opportunities for established brands, Klein notes. (Think consumer-determined flavors for Lay’s potato chips and chocolate-covered Wavy Lays.) “Millennials are more willing to take a risk on their flavor profiles,” he says. “We think Cheetos is an excellent opportunity [to take advantage] of that.”
That said, the introduction of Sweetos still holds some unknowns, which is why the brand is opting for a limited-time run of the product, Klein says. If things go well for Easter, however, it’s possible the product will make returns around other holidays.
“The truth is, Cheetos means ‘cheese,’ and we’ve got some perceptions to get over,” Klein says. “We’ve got to walk before we run, and we’re going to take baby steps, but this is a long-term strategy for us.”