Three weeks ago, I wrote about the trippy new Orange Underground website and advertising campaign on behalf of Cheetos. The site and the blog are both pretty well designed, and the idea behind the campaign is unique and intricate. Goodby Silverstein, the agency behind the Orange Underground campaign clearly put a lot of time and energy into it. There’s just one problem: no one, and I mean literally almost NO ONE, is talking about it.

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“Chester Cheetah here. What gives people? No one wants to be part of the Orange Underground? Come on folks, it ain’t easy being cheesy. Ayyayyayya.”

A search of Technorati on blogs with at least “a little authority”, reveals only 17 results for “Orange Underground” AND Cheetos. TOTAL. Yikes. The campaign launched more than a month ago and it has only been mentioned 17 times by bloggers? Check out the Technorati chart showing the sparseness of day-to-day mentions in the past month:

A search for “Orange Underground” on Google Trends reveals the following message:

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Hmmm….not good. The first few bloggers to post about Orange Underground received semi-cryptic comments from someone named “Cheet01″, encouraging them to join the Orange Underground and commit acts of RAoC (Random Acts of Cheetos). In addition to adding a comment to the post I wrote about Orange Underground, Cheet01 also commented on blogs HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Obviously someone is being paid to post comments as Cheet01 and help gin up interest and intrigue in the blogosphere. The only problem is, Cheet01 doesn’t seem to have anywhere to leave comments. A Google search reveals that since the campaign has started, Cheet01 has only posted a total of six comments, all of which I linked to above.

Given the creative nature of this campaign, Goodby Silverstein most likely assumed there would be a high(er) level of discussion in the blogosphere. Cheet01 was probably designed to be their unique method to engage and interact with bloggers. However, with almost no one talking about the campaign, the actual person behind “Cheet01″ must have a pretty boring workday – repeatedly doing Google Blog searches for “Orange Underground” and turning up nothing.

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In addition to a lack of coverage in the blogosphere, no one seems to be committing these RAoC’s (Random Acts of Cheetos) that the campaign is encouraging people to do. A post from February 4th on the Orange Underground blog is titled, “Remarkable New RAoC’s Clog the Intertubes.” The post directs people to the Orange Underground YouTube Channel where they are told they can “witness the full glory of the latest round of Random Acts of Cheetos.”

However, the YouTube channel has so far identified 20 videos as “favorites.” These range from weird YouTube videos about Cheetos from a full year ago, to clips posted by the user orangeunderground himself. So far there have been ZERO user generated videos submitted showing any RAoC’s.

So what happened? I’m not really sure. The creators probably assumed a campaign with this level of creativity would go viral right away. Clearly it didn’t, and it hasn’t. The campaign may be a little too strange for people to “get it.” I mean did they really expect people to start pulling crazy pranks with Cheetos? Who in their right mind is actually going to go out and buy 20 bags of Cheetos to pull pranks with?

The concept was unique, but the opportunities for continued consumer engagement aren’t prevalent. Ultimately there just wasn’t enough “there there” for this to be the type of campaign which excites people enough to blog about it or e-mail it to their friends.

47 Responses

  1. shatraw

    this is what happens when you change your marketing scheme from “delicious cheesy taste” to “confusing visions of a dystopian — but hilarious — future”

    idiots.

    Reply
  2. Ruca Bangs

    DONT CLICK THAT YT LINK

    save yourself 87 %150 worthless seconds. Watch ‘sloths’ again instead.

    Reply
  3. striker mg

    yea… if some did a “RAoC” on you, you would be pissed the hell off. I know if i saw my sheets had cheetos stains, I would beat the hell out of that chick till she had no teeth. Or take the guy who messes with that guys desk. WTH! So your a lazy ass slob, dont knock on other people. Obviously he was far superior to you for you get angry. I dont get it … id rather eat cheetos.. maybe more if they stop showing those stupid commercials

    Reply
  4. lakerkrazy

    Who cares if bloggers are talking about it? When did some idiot in his apartment become an authority? Why should we care if Perez Hilton wants to talk about Cheetos? The whole internet community takes itself too seriously. The true measure is whether or not this campaign brings more sales, not blogs, videos, or mentions by internet junkies who have nothing better to do all day than criticize people who actually WORK for a living…

    Reply
  5. Ximen Bao

    … criticized the oh-so-serious person on the internet posting with an air of authority.

    Reply
  6. Eick

    lakerkrazy,

    Well the reason we should care if bloggers talk about it is because CHEETOS themselves care. Yeah they have a couple TV ads, but the main thrust of the Orange Underground campaign is focused online – a website, a blog, a YouTube channel etc. Heck, they even created a person called “Cheet01″ which they use to go onto blogs and talk with/to the people posting about the campaign.

    Cheetos clearly created a campaign intended to get online buzz, so therefore when evaluating it shouln’t we actually, you know, look at how much online buzz it has created?

    Also your implication of bloggers being “idiots in an apartment” and suggesting all they do is “criticize people who actually WORK for a living” is a painfully, painfully archaic view of what types of people are actually blogging.

    Reply
  7. Sarely

    I just wacth the video, it does appaer to have taken along time and I would asume it would get alot of views but then again I wouldn’t do a RAoC’s

    Reply
  8. Brian

    I have to agree with lakerbakery, who cares if bloggers are “blogging” about it? I thought the ads were funny, shoot I think a lot of ads are funny, but im not scouring the interwebs looking for a discussion on it. It actually made me buy those upscale 4 cheese cheetoes now that I think about it.

    Reply
  9. Eick

    Brian,

    Just wanted to point out that my analysis has nothing to do with the Cheetos TV ads. You are correct that whether or not bloggers are talking about the ads doesn’t matter if they are funny and effective.

    My post is specifically focused on the online component – the website, blog and youtube channel for Orange Underground. When we are talking about web-specific components of a campaign, I think it is, in fact, very relevant to look at how much, if at all, the campaign is being blogged about.

    Reply
  10. Lev

    It’s failing because it’s smacks of effort and artifice. They tried to seed something viral except the idea was weak, lacked focus and had no teeth.

    At the end of the day people are too savvy for this stuff – they can smell the Cheetos brand behind this – so think long and hard before blowing your ad budget on this kind of stunt. Maybe put your toe in the water first before fully committing.

    The revolution will not be televised. Or maybe it will, but no one will care.

    Reply
  11. MrPoopyface

    So far I’ve only seen the TV spots, but the message I’m hearing here is “come be an asshole just like us.” Cheetos in the dryer as revenge? Because someone pointed out that it’s rude to take up too many machines in a crowed laundromat? What a bitchy thing to do. And sure the neat freak is a weirdo, but that alone shouldn’t provoke the crushing of a Cheeto into his laptop keyboard by some smug douchebag. I can’t sympathize with these RAoCers at all. They’re just bullies. Why would anyone want to act that way? And don’t give me some devil-made-me-do-it excuse about talking cheetah hallucinations…

    Reply
  12. TiredOfBullshit

    Gee. I’m so glad I hate cheetos anyway……..
    “Cheetos…..the snack for assholes!” How’s that for a new slogan?

    Reply
  13. Boycott Frito-Lay

    This ad campaign should fail, and I hope it does fail. It is mean spirited, and I think Frito-Lay should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging people to do things like that. I’ve switched to other brands for as long as they continue doing this. Some dipstick in our local area saw the dryer commercial, went to a laundry mat, happened to have a box of ding-dongs on him, and put ding-dongs in every dryer with no provocation whatsoever except to do something nasty to people who hadn’t done anything to him. The only thing from that commercial that got through to him, was that it would be funny to go out and ruin other people’s work, take up their time and money to clean all the dryers and re-wash the clothes, and he didn’t even have the right product. In the dryer commercial, the girl with the Cheetos was getting someone back for telling her she was being inconsiderate, so she answers to that by being down right vengeful. In the one where the slob messes up someone’s desk, there is no indication at all that the neat freak did anything at all to deserve such treatment, except to be exceptionally neat. And as for the one on the airplane where the woman stuffs Cheetos up the nose of someone who’s snoring, well, she deserves a murder charge if he dies of suffocation over night, she could’ve just as easily asked the stewardess if there were an open seat she could move to elsewhere, or just woken the guy up, and told him he was snoring. The whole campaign is mean, and teaches terrible values to our young people, and Frito-Lay should be held liable and accountable for any damages that come out of this campaign, the business with the DingDongs in the dryer cost somebody out there a lot of time and money to clean it all up. Advertisers need to take more responsibility for the message they are sending out to children, or mental children. With the war in Iraq, the election, gas prices, the economy, and all that there is enough crap going on in our lives without some company going around telling people it’s ok or even desirable to go out acting like and asshole and bullying people. We don’t “need” your products, Frito-Lay, there are others out there just as tasty, and just as bad for us. Junk food is discretionary spending, and if I am going to find it in my budget to get some, I am not going to spend it on products that would encourage this sort of behavior in people. That campaign would be over in a heartbeat if someone could get close enough with 20 bags of Cheetos to do a RAOC on the Frito-Lay CEO’s office, car, or house, and if somebody out there can do that, I sincerely hope they do.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Weren’t the 4 finalists for this contest suppose to be posted today? What happened?

    Reply
  15. Feh...

    Stop taking what they do in the commercial so seriously. It encourages people to have fun, and on the website, it tells you to “take responsibility for your irrisponsibility” The commercials are to gain interest, not to tell people to be flat out dicks.
    They tried something new, in fully embracing the age of the internet, and all people do is seem to say it’s retarded to advetrtise on the internet? That doesn’t make any goddamn sense, seeing as how 90% of all websites probably have… Oh I don’t know, ADS?! And to quote some random source with no links… “[...]You[...] Are[...]St[...]up[...]id.”

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Frito Lay has successfully established Cheetos as the preferred snack of asinine thugs who commit battery and vandalism. They won’t get any more of my money, but they will take a larger share of the probation office vending machine market.

    Reply
  17. Joe

    I’d like a commercial of someone getting caught doing it to a gang-banger and then being beaten to a bloody pulp with a crowbar and crippled for life. Now that would make me more likely to buy cheetos… and laugh.

    Reply
  18. Magicbeans

    Hey, is there anybody bought the product because of the campaign?
    We are students working on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of this campaign.

    Reply
  19. Boycott Frito Lay

    To Magic Beans, considering the amount of outright hostility to this campaign, and the way underwhelming number of posts to their website
    http://tastytruth.com/2008/01/16/cheetos-orange-underground/
    I would say that this campaign is beyond failure, there were only a few posts there, and the majority of the posts on their site are made by their own people. You went there yourself to ask the same question, so you know how dead it is there. It’s one thing when a company stimulates talk by stimulating controversy, and another one when an ad stimulates outright hostility. When the site they set up for the purpose of encouraging raoc’s and talking about them is so dead that no one not employed by them can be bothered, yeah, that’s a pretty miserable failure. If people had actually liked the idea the place would be buzzing, but instead you can find more posts on sites where people went to gripe about it. You can count me as one who was turned away by that campaign, I refused to buy any Frito products until the ads left the airwaves.

    Reply
  20. small fry

    I like your Cheetos crunchy mozzarella so much that I’m going to buy five bag and why did y’all say its limited time only?

    Reply
  21. CSearch

    Cheetos Crunchy Mozzerellas are great! I hope you keep them in the stores!

    Reply
  22. Travis

    @ lol // Mar 26, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    “anyone stick a cheeto up their butt yet?”

    Didn’t ACTUALLY do it, but that’s what my entry was about. It wasn’t even accepted into the contest.

    Reply

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