….there are no rules. This is the first thing you hear when you click over to the trippy website Orange Underground, which is part of an elaborate new online campaign by Cheetos. When you get to the site, you are greeted with a grainy, Dharma Initiative style video. Featuring a nondescript young man in a plain white dress shirt and tie, he explains to viewers the basic rules of the organization RAoC (Random Acts of Cheetos).


The campaign seems targeted to appeal to the mystery solving, viral loving fans of shows like Lost. The creators of the campaign have set up an Orange Underground blog which declares in the “Who am I?” section:

“I am the Gatekeeper. I am only the Gatekeeper. You are the movement.”

The blog features a “RAoC Cookbook” which provides a manual for some suggested Random Acts of Cheetos such as the one you see below:


Over at Adrants, there is speculation that Frito-Lay may have finally caught on to the fact that Chester Cheetah is really creepy. However, it’s unclear to me if AdRants believes that this new campaign is an attempt to move away from the Chester Cheetah character, or if the weirdness of this campaign is embracing the creepiness that is Chester.

“Remember me? I was huge in the 90’s.”

Apparently the “organizers” behind Orange Underground are active in the blogosphere as well. When Make the Logo Bigger wrote about the campaign, someone named Cheet01 showed up in the comments a mere 16 minutes after the blog entry was posted, commenting:

“Glad you dig! Your Random Acts of Cheetos intuition (and interactive marketing mojo) is flawless.Now come join the movement and help us stick it to the man! Thanks for the kind words” – Cheet01

Interesting. It appears whoever is behind this campaign is waiting to immediately jump in and engage bloggers who post about Orange Underground. Will Cheet01 be making an appearance here shortly after I post?

The creators of this campaign have also set up a YouTube channel which features, among other clips, a strange 30-second ad with a mysterious Patrick Stewart voiced Chester Cheetah and encourages viewers to join the Orange Underground.

It will be interesting to see how much attention this campaign can attract, and if this unique style of marketing succeeds in getting people interested and engaged in exploring more of the “Orange Underground.” Or will it be merely a novelty that people check out briefly and immediately forget about? Only time will tell, but I am intrigued to see what else Cheetos have planned to create buzz and draw further attention to this campaign.

31 Responses

  1. Ruca Bangs

    Oh wow! What a prank! You, like, totally waste those cheetos! Then what is your friend gonna do? Duh, buy some more to share while you all yhave a great big laugh about it! Everyone wins!

    I call for a boycott. Cheetos and Kraft, two sad fake-cheese-based corporate douchebags.

  2. Cheet01

    Cheet01 doesn’t pander to the blog-o-sphere.

    Cheet01 only panders to Petitioning Orange Pranklings with the potential to be great RAoCers. And you my friend have the mojo.

    Now stop speculating about the Purpose and become the Purpose!

    Welcome to the Orange Underground.



    P.S. As a rule we do not speak of the Great Orange One. But I have to say the Orange Underground is also finding some of the Adrants commentary to be deliciously non-sensical. Either they’ve embraced absurdist criticism and are perpetrating their own RAoC on the world (we’d like to think that.) Or they’ve driven themselves mad overthinking something that speaks for itself. Whatever the reason, making no sense is both the main symptom of and the cure to working for the Man and we wish them luck with that.

    P.P.S. RAoC!!!

  3. Lucy

    Aww, I think I’m the only one who actually likes this commercial 😀 It’s weird, but at least stands out from everything else on TV

  4. Hugh Manatee

    The Cheetohs ‘Orange Underground’ ad campaign was perfectly timed to shadow the ACLU’s and Amnesty International’s campaign to use orange ribbons and clothes in an effort to advertise January 11 as International Shut Down Guantanamo Day, peaking with the Cheetohs ad in USA Today on January 8th, 2008.
    Orange will symbolize a genuine social movement trying to stop torture and close America’s Gitmo gulag, not some toxic snack hyped as a fake political movement.
    Even anti-fascist musician, Frank Zappa, was ripped off with that shop vacuum cleaner character from his record albums. Zappa wrote a song called ‘The Torture Never Stops.’
    Whoever came up with this tactic of hiding a social movement behind a fake social movement should think about what they are doing with their lives and what it is like to be tortured, disappeared, and murdered by the US government.
    The boycott of Cheetohs has begun.
    Chew on that.

  5. Hugh Manatee

    Orange has become a strong symbol for getting back basic human rights and spooks don’t like that to viral market among youth.
    So they hijack with Cheetohs ‘Orange Underground’ decoy.
    Don’t forget the website.

    • Get “Why I’m Wearing Orange” for your office or notebook

    “89 Arrested in
    Federal Courthouse Occupation,
    Washington D.C.
    International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo
    Jan 11, 2007
    Hundreds of people dressed in orange jumpsuits and hoods
    walked to DC Federal Court and were denied entrance.”

  6. Aindreas

    Cheet01 is absolutely correct, everyone needs to loosen up and have some fun. This isn’t about vandalism or even terrorism with cheetos as some may think, everyone has gotten so stiff from the monotony of boring lives, that nobody can take a joke anymore. This is exactly what the world needs and people need to start doing it. I’m going to have my RAoC posted on YouTube by tommorrow.

  7. Jugular Jaguar

    Hey how about bringing back those Pizza flavored Cheetos they test marketed for such a short time. They were the best. Sadly, they tempted us with something tasty just to take it away. Such evilness.

  8. Helmut

    I don’t think Chester is creepy. Chester is the definition of cool. As with most things Chester has evolved. The commercials hold attention and seem to target a 30ish male consumer. The Orange Underground is genius and it is not my opinion that there is a relation to the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo. The idea creates fun for all involved and to do so you are required to purchase lots of Cheetos which is great for Frito Lay, and the many American families they support. Remember there are no rules, and be the purpose. Take it to the man!

  9. Linda

    I love it! In this day and age of “go,go,go” it relieves the doldrums and responsiblities of life for a brief moment…like being a kid again!

  10. sherry settles

    i was wondering if you can send me some free info. on getting some chester chetta merchandise thru the mail,and also if theres a fan club to join. thank you….

  11. catcookie

    I don’t like that ads at all. they aren’t funny and if it were me, I’d have punched her in the jaw
    for ruining my laundry.
    The others(on the airplane and the one with the bonzi tree) aren’t funny either.

  12. Pointless and unoriginal advertising...once again

    #1 Chester is my childhood friend. We have had luch together, soiled our clothes together and he has made my sandwiches taste GREAT.

    #2 Upon entering the “website” I was instantly confused. Will this make me more familiar with a product I am already loyal to? Or will this just help a creative director’s media planner get praise based on the visits per page?

    And finally, #3 The ad is not fun but weird as hell…

  13. Counter Revolution

    P.O. Box 660634
    Dallas, TX 75266-0634

    Ok, so what does Frito-Lay really want out of this?
    They want to sell Cheetos, and they want to know if their advertising is effective enough to incite a riot. Ok, so buy one, and only one small bag of Cheetos. And a box of envelopes, and a book of stamps. And a pair of gloves.
    Put one, and only one Cheeto in each envelope. Seal the envelope, use a mallet to smash the Cheeto within, (baked would smash easier than fried) and anonymously send out one each day to the above address, (which came from Frito-Lay’s website) from a public mail box. Continue until you have reached the end of your bag of Cheetos, or until the campaign ends, whichever comes first. The way that they have presented RAoC’s to the public, this stunt fits all the parameters of their definitions of what constitutes an RAoC. If everyone who thinks the “pranks” portrayed in the commercials and on you tube are mean, creepy, and amount to bullying others were to send the cheesmail back to confront them, it will be an RAoC *they* will remember for years to come. Since Frito-lay thinks doing mean things to others and taking up people’s time and money to clean up after these so called RAoC’s is funny, they ought to get a *really* good laugh about it in the Frito-lay mailroom if they have to hire extra people to sort out the cheesmail from legitimate business mail, not to mention to sort out the mess when it all attracts bugs and stuff. The Orange Underground is not “sticking it to the man” the Orange Underground is a direct representative of “The Man”, and “The Man” wants to know how far he can go before we all stand up and say enough is enough. There has been a trend in advertising in general lately that is truly creepy, and sends an awful message about Americans, if we want it to end, we have to band together and tell them so.
    You have your orders.
    The counter revolution is begun.

    But of course, I am only joking, all in good fun, right? Just as they think they apparently are 🙂 You can also use the address to send a simple letter complaining to them about it, after all.

  14. Customer #34569

    Man I hate these ads that try to make being a dick look cool.

  15. "In good fun"?

    One poster writes that it seems to be aimed at 30 something males. By that time of life, he should be starting a career and family, not acting like a frat boy, his college years should be far behind him, and I don’t think this commercial speaks to anyone older than 25. Anyone I know who is over 30 and still behaves that way doesn’t have a job, and spends half his time in jail. I have seen 3 commercials aired in my area, and the female characters outnumber males 2 to 1. The dryer commercial shows a female who is inconsiderate and vengeful, maybe she’s on her period or something? What kind of an image is that to present to women? In the airplane commercial, if the roles had been reversed, and the white male passenger stuck cheetos up the nose of the black female passenger, that ad would have been pulled in a heart beat as being blatantly racist. It is still somewhat racist as it is, after all the sacrifices made in the civil rights movement to promote better education and opportunities for black people, it displays a stereotype that black people have no better way to cope, and no better resources within themselves than to cause physical harm to someone who is bothering them, but of course we are supposed to understand that because she is black, and female, then she is one of the downtrodden masses “sticking it to the man”. After all, they are obviously both middle management type business travelers, about the same level in their given companies, but she probably makes way less than he does, and will probably hit the glass ceiling while he gets promoted, so we should excuse that behavior, right? Both of those commercials have nothing to do with 30 ish males, and set women’s rights and civil rights movements back. In the 3rd commercial, an entry level employee goes around destroying the cubicle of someone higher on the food chain, may seem funny until the higher ups follow the cheese trail and fire him, I suppose….

  16. Hew Manity Winz

    And Cheetos used a commercial to diss the Peace Tower in Greenland in tribute to John Lennon, too.


    The Cheetos ad used a slogan like ‘taller than a rocker’s ego…’

    The ad agency working for Cheetos is obviously run by USG spooks trying to bury the peacenik views of one of the Beatles , John Lennon.

    F-YOU, spooks.
    You suck and so does your toxic snack food which will probably be banned as carcinogenic in a few years.


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