Frito-Lays’s Cheetos brand partnered with the USA Curling team to promote the release of its new limited-edition Cheetos Winter White Cheddar Curls and raise awareness about the sport ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, a news release announced. The campaign was made with the agency The Marketing Arm.
#DoTheCurl’s goal is to popularize a dance called “The Curl,” which takes inspiration from touchdown celebration dances and is backed by a beat and lyrics that closely resemble the 2011 Cali Swag District hit single “Teach Me How to Dougie.” Musician Todrick Hall and pro football players Vernon Davis and LaDainian Tomlinson were tapped to create a music video, called “Teach Me How to Curl,” where they help a pointedly dorky USA Curling team improve their moves.
The video is being shared on Hall and Cheetos’s social media channels and additionally features brand mascot Chester Cheetah. The effort aims to educate consumers about the sport of curling — “one of the country’s most underappreciated sports,” per the release — and encourages them to share their own videos of the curl dance or other curling moves using the hashtag #DoTheCurl.
Brands have a rich history of partnering with Olympians and supporting Team USA, but Cheetos is taking a more distinctive approach this year by working with a lesser-known sport and putting a heavy emphasis on both music and social media integrations that attempt to spur user-generated content. By enlisting the help of two pro football players, the campaign could appeal to a wider audience of sports fans who watch the NFL and enjoy its showy touchdown dances but are less familiar with curling. The creative plays into that lack of familiarity by emphasizing how cool Hall, Davis and Tomlinson are, with USA Curling acting as the stiffs who need to loosen up by dancing to a beat many viewers are already familiar with.
Cheetos likely hopes that the #DotheCurl hashtag gains serious traction and the type of viral success that’s greeted other internet-ready dances from recent years such as “The Harlem Shake” and, more obviously, the dougie, which the brand is clearly taking a page from. Consumers, particularly millennials, are more trusting of UGC over traditional advertising. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said content produced by fellow consumers is more trustworthy than brand-generated content, and 54% of enjoy using branded hashtags so that their friends know what brands they like, according to findings from Olapic.
The partnership with USA Curling makes Cheetos the latest brand to introduce limited-edition products with quirky or distinct packaging and a corresponding social media campaign to generate brand buzz. General Mills has created limited-edition Wheaties cereal boxes featuring gold medalists for decades, and numerous athletic brands, including Under Armor and Nike, have featured Olympic competitors in their ads.