Cheetos Claims ‘Credit’ for Inspiring Hands-Free Tech in New Campaign
Cheetos, or at least the orange dust they leave on fingers, inspired the invention of hands-free technology from voice assistants to robot vacuums according to a new marketing campaign by the Frito-Lay subsidiary. The TV commercial and related advertising purport to show how the dust, officially called “Cheetle,” motivated people to come up with alternatives that don’t impede their snacking. Cheetos even built an official Hands-Free House at SXSW full of the devices that would make life easier for someone covered in Cheetle. A virtual version for touring is also in the works.
The ad showcases how Cheetos-born frustration might inspire automatic doors, robotic vacuums, unlocking phones with facial recognition, and self-driving cars. The tag, “If it’s hands-free, it’s a Cheetos thing” caps the ad. The TV ad spots are joined by billboards and other traditional advertising, but the company decided to make the idea a physical reality with the Hands-Free House at SXSW. Everything withing was controlled by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant or otherwise proof against Cheetle, including a hands-free Cheetos vending machine. The Amazon partnership makes sense since the tech giant sells both voice-enabled devices and Cheetos, and the two companies are extending this partnership to a digital version of the house hosted by Amazon that visitors can explore starting March 28.
“The orange dust on Cheetos fans’ fingertips – Cheetle – is a badge of savory honor, but it’s also a tricky situation when swiping left on your phone or using the vacuum to clean up your evidence,” Frito-Lay North America senior vice president of marketing Stacy Taffet said. “This campaign playfully dares our fans to ask the question – did Cheetle inspire hands-free technology? We’re excited to show fans all the ways they can live life completely hands-free when we open the doors to the Hands-Free House. After all, we aren’t afraid to claim: if it’s hands free… it’s a Cheetos thing.”