Doritos' rainbow makeover is pretty and prolific

The LGBT-supporting effort took traditional and social media by storm this week.

When it comes to colors, Doritos is associated with orange – the tint left on your fingertips after gorging on the cheesy chips – but this week the brand unexpectedly turned rainbow in support of the LGBT community.

Surprise and delight can be a powerful thing. I was immediately intrigued by the white bag with its rainbow display in the package I received from Dorito owner PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division Thursday morning. And I wasn’t the only one.

Shortly after the Doritos Rainbows press release was published, digital and social media platforms were buzzing with overwhelmingly positive responses. The snack brand quickly garnered consumer and media attention because the effort is not only fun and unanticipated (LGBT Pride Month is June); it’s also for a great cause.

Doritos partnered with the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that aims to provide support and hope for LGBT youth around the world, to create the limited-time colorful chips. But here’s the catch: the rainbow bags will not be sold in stores and they’re only available for LGBT supporters who donate $10 or more to the It Gets Better Project. All proceeds from Doritos Rainbows will go to the nonprofit, according to a company statement.

Doritos encouraged people on social media to use the hashtag #BoldandBetter to share inspiring messages. Seven hours after being posted on Facebook, the brand’s video was viewed more than 145,000 times, with 2,100 shares, and on Twitter it garnered 600 retweets and more than 500 favorites.

Fast forward 24 hours after the initial Facebook post – the video was played 415,000 times and shared more than 6,000 times, and the post was retweeted 2,200 times and was favorited by more than 2,300 people.

MWW, which acquired Macias Media Group, a firm focused on connecting clients with LGBT consumers, last March, has been leading PR for the Doritos Rainbow program.  

The eye-catching bag and Pride flag-inspired logo – which extended to Doritos’ social media channels – along with the charitable element of the initiative earned supportive tweets from PR pros, marketers, bloggers, filmmakers, and journalists.

Even ecommerce sex-toy company Adam & Eve got involved.  

On the media side, outlets such as ABC News, Yahoo Food, TIME, People Magazine, Mashable, Huffington Post, Fortune, and BuzzFeed jumped on the rainbow buzz in the first day. As of Friday morning, Google search yielded nearly 300 news stories about the Cool Ranch-flavored product.

The initiative was just as smart a move internally as it was externally. I noticed a number of PepsiCo employees tweeting or retweeting about Doritos Rainbows. Frito-Lay CMO Ram Krishnan also posted about the initiative Thursday afternoon, and former staffer Sander Howard mentioned how proud he is of his former employer on Twitter.

One way to keep excitement up would be to bring on an influencer or well-known LGBT supporter (which Doritos might – it’s only day two of the campaign), such as actor Neil Patrick Harris or Everyone Is Gay cofounder Kristin Russo.

During PRWeek’s high-profile annual conference on Wednesday, Tiki Barber, co-chairman and founder of Thuzio and a former running back for the New York Giants, talked about the value of influencers, whether it’s Beyoncé or a community hero.

Also, Rich Ferraro, VP of communications at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), told me a few years ago that reaching gay press is a key way to target the community.

But since it's so diverse within itself, the LGBT blogosphere is one of the strongest minority communities in the social media space.

While still in the early stages, the Doritos Rainbow effort started off strong, turning heads with its unexpected (and pretty) LGBT-supporting chips, and with another push from a popular influencer, the colorful initiative can keep shining bright.  

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