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March 18, 2008


Who's eating Cheetos™?

Bathtub full of Cheetos

Seth Stevenson over at Slate has done a good analysis of the new Cheetos ads that feature a newly sinister Chester the Cheetah, voiced by someone who sounds just like Peter O'Toole, urging Cheetos snackers to use their food as mischief implements.

Some of them are funny, especially the cubicle menacer one, and those shots of Chester massaging the languid flight attendant's shoulders are really hilarious.

But here's something strange: what inspired Cheetos to launch this new adult-oriented ad campaign on cable channels is that they found out, to their surprise, that 60% of Cheetos eaters are adults. They had always assumed that kids eat more Cheetos, hence the cartoony Chester character and the elementary-level design of their website.

I'm surprised it's not MORE than 60%. Frito-Lay, who makes Cheetos, apparently forgot that most of the world is made up of adults, and we love our orange snack foods, too. Kids are more likely to focus on candy in their gas station shopping trips, I think, leaving us adults to make up most of the Cheeto, Combo, and Cheez-It salty/cheesy snack market.

A partner at the ad agency that created the ads says that adults who eat Cheetos are somehow transgressive: "You're supposed to be eating arugula dip, but you have a nonconforming desire" to eat junk food. Huh? Has he looked at the size of the butts populating America lately? Eating bags of Cheetos looks pretty mainstream to me. Also, "arugula dip"? Maybe he meant artichoke dip. Either way, Frito-Lay has been missing their primary demographic all along: grown-ups wallowing in extended adolescence, stoners, and Jared Leto.

Stevenson says that the ads are memorable enough to make him more likely to buy Cheetos in the future, "next time I'm drunk and in a convenience store."

categories: Business, Media
posted by amy at 3:07 PM | #

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There's been an incident. I'll have to call you back.

Posted by: T-Rock at March 18, 2008 3:51 PM

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