Doritos partnered with Netflix on a virtual concert event promoting the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” per details shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
“Live From The Upside Down” ties back to the science fiction show’s setting of Hawkins, Indiana, which was supposed to host a gathering called Doritos Music Fest ’86 in-universe. The tour bus transporting retro acts like The Go-Go’s, Soft Cell, and Corey Hart crashed, however, and the artists were sucked into the Upside Down, a nefarious alternate reality teeming with monsters.
Doritos is letting fans access what’s being billed as the “greatest concert that never happened” through specially marked bags of chips, including a limited-edition Doritos 3D Crunch Three Cheese flavor. Tickets for the June 23 event are also available through Frito-Lay’s Snacks.com site, which will sell “Live from the Upside Down” merchandise to give attendees a keepsake from the experience.
Doritos is tapping into the rich vein of ’80s nostalgia running through “Stranger Things” with the virtual concert event. “Live from the Upside Down” assembles a trio of era-appropriate acts and will also see an appearance from modern pop star Charli XCX, who is performing a surprise collaboration with one of the artists on the lineup. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips are Sealed,” Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender” and Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” are on the released setlist so far.
The tie-up with Netflix tries to align the snack marketer with a popular streaming series that doesn’t run traditional advertisements. Product placement has become common on “Stranger Things,” one of the crown jewels on Netflix’s originals slate, with brands from Eggo to Burger King seizing on its vintage appeal. Doritos is weaving together a narrative that links the show’s universe and a fictional music festival to its real-world product portfolio, including 3D Crunch chips.
Along with the limited-run merchandise sold through Snacks.com, Doritos is putting on a “golden ticket” contest where consumers who buy the Three Cheese, Spicy Ranch, and Chili Cheese Nacho 3D Crunch flavors have a chance to win a replica of a guitar model that will have a prominent place on “Stranger Things” season four. The latest installment of the series is broken up into two parts, with the first dropping on May 27 and the second on July 1, meaning Doritos’ concert might help fill the stopgap.
Virtual concerts first gained traction earlier in the pandemic, when live venues were closed due to COVID-19 precautions. Performances on online platforms like Fortnite have drawn millions of viewers, demonstrating the concept can resonate if it reaches the right audience.
Netflix is potentially adjusting how it works with brands after posting its first subscriber losses in a decade. The streamer, long resistant to advertising, has said it’s open to the idea of an ad-supported tier as it tries to preserve a leading spot in an increasingly crowded market.