food

Cheetos, Hershey's Tap AI, VR To Engage At SXSW

Cheetos and Hershey’s have harnessed artificial intelligence and virtual reality tech, respectively, to engage attendees at this year’s SXSW Conference & Festivals.

The PepsiCo Frito-Lay cheese curls brand unveiled “Cheetos Vision” — an AI-powered camera app that transforms everything the user looks at into Cheetos-infused imagery. (See video below.) 

Users can capture and share the altered images and videos directly on social media, and even use the app (available on the AppStore) to transform their profile photos into Cheetos creations.

"The Cheetos brand is always on the cutting edge of playful fun, so it's only natural we would leverage AI to help fans see the world through a Cheetos lens," said Rachel Ferdinando, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. 

Meanwhile, Hershey’s and home delivery service goPuff are offering a VR experience (screen grab above) in the festival’s Retail Innovation Lounge that lets attendees experience “what the future of retail could look like.” 

The Hershey Company is experimenting with a variety of nontraditional sales and distribution channels as “last-minute digital purchases and on-demand fulfillment models become more important,” says Brian Kavanagh, senior director, insights driven performance and retail evolution for the company.

Working with goPuff is helping Hershey “explore the future of VR and retail,” and the SXSW installation is giving Hershey face-to-face opportunities to learn more about the Millennial and Gen-Z consumers who are goPuff’s core consumer base, the partners said.

GoPuff, which aims to be an alternative to convenience stores, delivers Hershey’s and other snacks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, “smoke stuff and party stuff,” household goods staples, small electronics items and other products to residences in some markets for a flat $1.95 fee.

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