- Cheetos, the snack brand from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, launched a "Cheetos Vision" app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to transform everything a mobile user sees through a smartphone camera into virtual Cheetos, according to a press release shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The app is part of a promotion at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, where the brand will use geotargeted ads to reach attendees and encourage them to share their "cheesy" images and videos on social media.
- Rachel Ferdinando, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, said the brand wanted to release Cheetos Vision alongside the other technologies that are showcased at this year's SXSW conference, which includes presentations surrounding mobile marketing, augmented reality (AR) and social media strategy.
The Cheetos Vision app is a fun way for the brand to engage with younger audiences who are more likely to use a mobile device as their main method of consuming news and entertainment. The app shows that Cheetos is generally in tune with young adults and teens who tend to favor shareable, entertaining experiences that they can post on social media. By releasing the app at SXSW, the campaign will likely spur more hype and engagement among attendees, as majority of those attending are likely interested in the variety of activations and tech rollouts that brands will issue.
One limitation of the Cheetos campaign may be that it requires users to download a special app, adding a friction point that could discourage some people from interacting with the AR feature. Other brands, including Saban Brands and Universal Pictures, have sought to get past this constraint with banner ads that open into an AR experience or by integrating these features into their established apps.
This is the latest creative effort by the Frito-Lay brand. Cheetos has experimented with new ways to promote the snack food among millennials and young families who tend to be more health-conscious than older groups, a trend that has also transformed the menus and marketing methods of the quick-service restaurant industry. In August, Cheetos hosted a pop-up restaurant in New York City that served recipes by celebrity chef Anne Burrell that contained the cheesy snack, including Cheetos Crusted Fried Pickles and Cheetos Sweetos Apple Crepes. The brand also has inspired trends on social media, such as the 2016 "Cheetos Museum" that urged people to share pictures of the cheese snack that looked similar to other things like animals and monuments, along with a #DoTheCurl partnership with the USA Curling team for the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea.