Doritos is a brand of seasoned tortilla chips founded by Arch West and produced since 1964 by Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo). The original product was made at the Casa de Fritos location at Disneyland in Anaheim. Using unused tortillas, the company-owned restaurant cut them up and fried them and added basic seasoning. Arch West was the Vice President of Marketing of Frito-Lay at the time, and noticed the popularity.
He made a deal with Alex Foods in 1964, the provider of many items for Casa de Fritos at Disneyland, and produced the chips for a short time regionally, before it was overwhelmed by the volume, and Frito-Lay moved the production in-house to its Tulsa plant. ‘Doritos’ were first available in 1966, the first tortilla chip to be launched nationally in the United States.
According to Information Resources International, in 1993, Doritos earned $1.3 billion in retail sales, one-third of the total Frito-Lay sales for the year. Nevertheless, in the costliest redesign in Frito-Lay history, in 1994 the company spent $50 million to redesign Doritos to make the chips 20% larger and 15% thinner. Roger J. Berdusco, the vice president of tortilla chip marketing, said a primary reason for the change was ‘greater competition from restaurant-style tortilla chips, that are larger and more strongly seasoned.’ The design change was the result of a two-year market research study that involved 5,000 chip eaters. The new design gave each chip rounded corners, making it easier to eat and reducing the scrape resulting from broken corners. Each chip was also given more seasoning, resulting in a stronger flavor. The improved chips were released in four flavors beginning in 1995.
Doritos are sold in many countries worldwide in assorted flavors. The first flavor of Doritos was ‘taco’ in 1968. ‘Nacho Cheese’ flavor was released in 1972, and for a short run at the end of the 1970s, ‘Sour Cream and Onion’ flavored chips were available, but were discontinued in the early 1980s. ‘Cool Ranch’/’Cool Original’ (known for a time as ‘Cooler Ranch’) flavor was released in 1986. In the 1990s, in partnership with parent company PepsiCo’s fast food brands, two new flavors of Doritos were introduced, ‘Taco Bell’s Taco Supreme’ (incorporating a ‘beef’ flavoring that was quite different from the original 1960s ‘Taco’ incarnation) and ‘Pizza Hut’s Pizza Cravers.’ After PepsiCo spun off its restaurant division in 1997, the flavors were simply renamed ‘taco’ and ‘pizza,’ respectively. At around the same time, due to the popularity of Frito-Lay’s Tostitos brand the unflavored ‘Toasted Corn’ was briefly discontinued, then brought back. Also in the 1990s, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Monterey Cheese’ flavored Doritos were introduced. Unfortunately, this flavor was later discontinued to the dismay of many Dorito fans. In 1997, ‘Spicy Nacho’ was introduced.
In 2007, Doritos ran a campaign called, Doritos X-13D Flavor Experiment, where black, unidentified bags of Doritos were on the market for consumers to identify and name the flavor. The only flavor identification on these chips was ,All American Classic., Rolland Smith was the founder of the variety of different flavors. He has created many flavors including ‘cheeseburger,’ ‘jalepeno,’ ‘hot sauce,’ ‘green peppers,’ etc. In 2008, Doritos debuted a ‘mystery flavor,’ which was eventually revealed to be ‘Mountain Dew.’ In 2009, Doritos released some new flavors under the banner Doritos Late Night: ‘Tacos at Midnight’ and ‘Last Call Jalapeno Popper.’ They also modified the X-13D flavor as ‘All Nighter Cheeseburger.’ 2010 saw the release of three successively spicy ‘Degree Burn’ flavors (‘Blazin’ Jalapeno’/’Jalapeno Fire,’ ‘Fiery Buffalo,’ and ‘Scorchin’ Habanero’), cross promoted to ‘cool down’ with Pepsi’s lime ‘Cease Fire’/’Max Citrus Freeze,’ and the wasabi flavored Mr. Dragon’s Fire Chips. In 2011, a Tapatio hot sauce flavor was released. Currently, five versions of ‘Doritos Collisions,’ which include two different flavors in the same bag, are being produced. Those varieties are ‘Hot Wings’/’Blue Cheese,’ ‘Zesty Taco’/’Chipotle Ranch,’ ‘Habanero’/’Guacamole,’ ‘Cheesy Enchilada’/’Sour Cream,’ and ‘Pizza Cravers’/’Ranch.’
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of Taco Bell in 2012, Doritos and Taco Bell partnered to form the Doritos Locos Tacos. The taco is a standard Crunchy Taco, but the taco shell is made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Later that year, a new line of Doritos were introduced: Doritos Jacked. The chips are 40% larger than standard Doritos.
Numerous impromptu online support groups have sprung up over the years among devoted fans who miss the original Doritos ‘Taco’ flavor formula. Reincarnations and relaunches of the Taco Doritos, including the recent ‘Back By Popular Demand’ campaign, did not recreate the original flavor. The taco chips included in the ‘Zesty Taco’/’Chipotle Ranch’ ‘Collisions’ bags were very close to the original, but were since discontinued in most of the country. In late 2010 the taco flavor recipe that was used in the 1980s returned in a limited edition ‘retro’ styled bag incorporating the original Doritos logo.
For many years, Doritos advertised heavily during the Super Bowl. According to Thomas L. Harris’s Value-Added Public Relations, ‘the most-used single video news release of 1995′ was a Doritos Super Bowl Commercial featuring recently-defeated US state governors Mario Cuomo and Ann Richards. The pair were discussing change and the ad ended with viewers aware that the change they referred to was not political, but rather a new packaging for Doritos. The ad generated a great deal of publicity before it ever ran and much discussion afterward. The governors later parodied their ad; when they were interviewed on the CBS news program ’60 Minutes,’ the two were often seen eating Doritos. In 1998, Doritos cast former Miss USA Ali Landry in a new Super Bowl Commercial. In the ad, filmed in a Laundromat, she plays a sexy customer who catches Doritos chips in her mouth as they come flying helter-skelter. The ad was such a success that Frito-Lay signed Landry, who became known as ‘The Doritos Girl,’ to a three-year contract.
For Super Bowl XLI, Doritos launched a contest, ‘Crash the Super Bowl,’ to allow consumers to create their own Doritos commercial. The general public was allowed to vote for their favorite of five finalists. According to Doritos, the vote was so close that just before the game the company decided to run two of the ads rather than just one. Both commercials finished highly in ratings of commercials during this Super Bowl. For Super Bowl XLIII, Doritos relaunched the fan-created commercials, with the winning vote going to the ‘Free Doritos’ ad, which featured an office worker (Comedian Steve Booth) with a snow globe (believing it to be a crystal ball) ‘predicting’ that everyone in the office would get free Doritos, then subsequently throws the snow globe into a vending machine selling nothing but Nacho Cheese & Cool Ranch Doritos.
In 2008, Doritos were promoted by an ‘out-of-this-world’ advertising campaign, literally beaming a 30 second advertisement for Doritos brand tortilla chips into a planetary system 42 light years away. The project was in collaboration with EISCAT Space Center in Svalbard, Norway. The ‘You Make It, We’ll Play It’ contest chose the winning advertisement. The ad was beamed towards a distant star within the Ursa Major constellation that is orbited by planets which may harbor life.
Doritos was the main sponsor of Wolverhampton Wanderers for the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons, the latter of which was spent in the Premier League. Doritos officially sponsored the ‘Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert’s Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage.’ The money given to Colbert could not be used to directly fund his campaign, so he used the money to fund ‘The Colbert Report.’ He claimed that he would not use his show to plug Doritos, but plugged the chips during these claims. After the campaign flopped, Colbert joked that his ‘body will stop producing bright orange waste.’