Namah Chawla

Nachos category benefits from premium international imagery: PepsiCo's Ankit Agarwal

Doritos has brought its globally famous Sizzlin' Hot flavour to India. The marketer says it is for the nacho's spice loving audience.

In mid-2017, PepsiCo launched its global nacho chips brand Doritos in India. Already present in over 55 countries, Doritos is the third master brand – after Lay’s and Kurkure – in PepsiCo India’s snacks portfolio.

Recently, the brand launched an interesting variant that challenges the spice tolerance of Indian consumers. Doritos’ globally famous Flamin’ Hot finds its way into the Indian market as Sizzlin’ Hot. The new addition extends the brand’s play beyond just classic flavours, like Nacho Cheese and Sweet Chilli.

“Flamin’ Hot is one of the biggest platforms that PepsiCo has. Lay’s, Cheetos and Doritos all have their Flamin’ Hot flavours. The offering is simple, it’s the spiciest chip that you will ever have. It has done well for PepsiCo globally and because Doritos has bold flavours in India, a spicy variant will go well with its boldness,” says Ankit Agarwal, associate director, brand marketing – Doritos, PepsiCo India.

Elaborating on the consumer insights, Agarwal says that in India, chilli, as a flavour, is growing and has become quite popular. “It is one of the fastest-growing buckets that we have. We also tested the Sizzlin’ Hot platform with Lay’s, which was launched earlier this year. It did quite well for PepsiCo.”

Ankit Agarwal, PepsiCo India
Ankit Agarwal, PepsiCo India

Basis this, the brand felt that it was the right time to launch Sizzlin’ Hot. Doritos couldn’t launch the US product, Flamin’ Hot, in India because the (spice) palate of Americans is quite different from that of Indians.

Sizzlin’ Hot’s TG will be similar to that of Doritos, i.e., consumers – both males and females – between the ages of 15 and 35, informs Agarwal.
“When consumers are looking for a chilli flavour, they are looking for something that is good to eat, a bit spicy and makes a mark,” he explains.

Sizzlin’ Hot’s campaign started with a teaser that featured Doritos’ ambassador, actor Kartik Aaryan. He was being teased with a box full of Sizzlin’ Hot. The video garnered over one million views and 116k likes through Aaryan's social media posts, and created quite a stir. Created by Leo Burnett, the final ad is a “behind the scenes” take of Rohit Shetty directing Aaryan. 

On why the brand decided to have another celebrity as its ambassador, Agarwal says that munching on Sizzlin’ Hot is nothing short of a stunt. So, to communicate this through the campaign, the brand roped in Shetty, who is one of India’s leading action directors. The campaign’s tagline ‘ChipsNahiFire’ highlights that Sizzlin’ Hot is really spicy.

The birthplace of nachos, an almost alien snack to most Indians until recently, is the small city of Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Mexico. While most would know that chips are made of potatoes, many are still unaware of Nachos' origin and what it is made of.

As per him, about 10 years back, nachos was an alien category and extremely niche, but it has grown in India over the last couple of years. The awareness about nachos, as a category, and Doritos too has grown multifold over the last few years. 

“Gone are the days when people used to serve unbranded potato chips to their guests. Nobody does that now. Because of its premium international imagery, nachos, as a category, is growing quite fast now,” Agarwal observes.

Talking about the competition in the nachos and the spicy snacks category, Agarwal says that if a brand launches a new flavour, for it to actually make a difference, there needs to be platform innovation. 

“Lay’s launching Gourmet and Kurkure coming up with a Chatpata Cheese flavour, are a part of PepsiCo’s platform innovations. Flamin’ Hot (Sizzlin’ Hot) is a platform and not just another Doritos flavour. It is a different offering, as compared to others available in the market,” he adds.

Explaining the media spends, Agarwal mentions, “The affinity of Doritos audience to digital is proportionately high. Every year, digital is growing fast and, so, are our spends. Digital remains a major part of our media mix to get the required reach.”

Sizzlin’ Hot will be sold across e-commerce and modern trade channel. Agarwal adds that for the Rs 10 and Rs 20 packs, traditional trade will be vital. For Rs 30 and Rs 50 price points, both e-commerce and modern trade will be utilised. 

Have news to share? Write to us