Doritos’ Shameful Super Bowl Ad – The Slap

Doritos ran the following ad during the Super Bowl last Sunday.  When I first saw it I chuckled and thought it was cute.  However, the more I thought about it, the more disturbed I became.

Looking at the ad a second and third time confirmed my concerns.  While it shows a cute boy, in an inverse situation, and mentions Doritos, I find the context disturbing.

Specifically the ad seems to highlight:

  • Being a single mom is OK; they have no problems
  • Leering after a woman’s behind is part of what a man does
  • Violence (slapping) is an acceptable form of behavior
  • Physically getting is someone’s face is a way to enforce your position

Underlying these actions is that the actors were black.  Would this ad been as “cute” if the actors were Asian or Native American?  Does portraying blacks in this way reinforce a positive stereotype?  What would have been the reaction if the adult had slapped the child?

I wonder if Doritos’ Marketing management asked and answered these questions when they oversaw the production of this ad, and paid about $1.5M for the airtime?  I wonder why they thought that this was acceptable ad to show to over 100 million Americans?

I recognize that the Dorito commercial is not the only offensive commercial every made.  Knowing the multiple influences on Marketers to differentiate themselves, I wonder if they have lost sight of basic Marketing 101:

  • Know your customer (Who is it in this commercial, smug white people, stereotyped black people, mis-behaving 4 year olds?)
  • What is the message? (What is Doritos try to express, humor, wisdom, knowledge?)
  • What is the offer? (How different are Doritos than their competitors, what to they offer me, the buyer. that is different?)

If Doritos was interested in “playing nice” with their customers, and not highlighting unacceptable social behavior and reinforcing stereotypes, could that money have been better spent on education?

Or am I out of touch with marketing and advertising today?

RHM  2/12/2010

3 comments to Doritos’ Shameful Super Bowl Ad – The Slap

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>