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Doritos AR Quest: the mobile game from Yahoo that captivated Filipinos

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By Awards Analyst | writer

October 14, 2021 | 8 min read

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Yahoo won the ’Best Mobile Campaign’ category at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising Asia Pacific in 2021, with its campaign for Doritos. Here, the team behind the entry explains the thought process behind the revolutionary AR game that was so successful registrations had to be capped.

Yahoo for Doritos

Using blockchain and AR technology, this campaign leveraged excitement about the PS5 launch to drive love for Doritos.

Doritos considers itself the snack of serious gamers. Last year, the brand wanted to broaden its appeal and sow brand love among the Philippines’ new gaming fans. These gamers were different – they were largely playing on their mobile phones.

Leveraging Filipinos’ mobile-first consumer mindset, and their passion for gaming, the campaign reached over 11 million people and generating over 140m impressions. Even before the early close of registrations, the campaign had already exceeded the registered gamer target by about 10%. Surpassing industry benchmarks in the Philippines with a 30% higher click-through-rate and 40% lower cost-per-click, the campaign built tremendous brand impact, widening Doritos’s appeal as the snack of choice for Gen Z.

Objectives

Doritos has established itself among a niche market, with widespread popularity among a demographic that tends to skew towards males and under 35. Particularly during the pandemic, gaming enjoyed increased preference as Southeast Asia’s way to stay entertained. Doritos sought to broaden its mass appeal and sow brand love amongst a wider range of consumer profiles that showed an interest in gaming.

From early November, Filipinos eagerly awaited the highly-anticipated release of the PlayStation5 in the Philippines, which brought cheers and tears as consoles sold out within minutes across the country. Doritos, as the snack of choice for gamers, was keen to tap into the buzz surrounding PS5 and leverage gaming as a passion point to connect with Filipino consumers.

A return to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in the Philippines in 2021 brought back tighter restrictions with limited movement - parks, entertainment venues, and tourist attractions remained closed to the public. With prolonged indoor protocols in place, the Philippines recorded the fastest growth in the region for gaming.

Despite the popularity of gaming consoles, 91% of Filipinos choose to play games on their mobile devices, with 72.1% of mobile users in the Philippines accessing gaming apps each month to beat their quarantine blues. And whether one is a casual player or a hardcore gaming fan, no game is ever complete without the right snack.

Strategy

To execute the campaign, Yahoo employed a strategy that heavily relied on its ad tech capabilities – developing an interactive AR game, leveraging programmatic features as well as utilising its full suite of privacy-centric data points for optimised and relevant targeting at scale.

Capitalising on the excitement about the launch of the PlayStation5, Yahoo’s branded content division Yahoo Creative Studios worked with Doritos to launch a custom-made, mobile-only, virtual AR game. It combined blockchain and geo-location technology to deliver a unique experience: Doritos AR Quest. The game tasked audiences with hunting virtual Doritos chips, each shaped like one of the four iconic symbols found on a PlayStation controlled, for a chance to win over 4,000 prizes - including a PS5, a PS5 Dualsense controller or packs of Doritos.

The global campaign initially featured a virtual hunt across public locations. Given restrictions for Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) were in place, Yahoo adapted the original game mechanics to one that players in the Philippines could take part in from the safety of their own homes while abiding with safety regulations.

Yahoo Creative Studios created Doritos Quest by combining Augmented Reality (AR) and blockchain technology, developing Vatoms or virtual objects for players to interact with. Catering to the largest captive gaming population in the Philippines, Doritos AR Quest was intentionally made available as mobile-only to leverage the interactivity, mobility, and features such as geo-location of the mobile format.

Using geo-location, players were sent pin drop Vatoms daily which, when used, would summon the virtual Doritos packets within their location. Players would then have to hunt for these virtual Doritos packets, safely in their own homes and vicinity to collect the PlayStation® symbol chips or instant-win prizes.

Promoting the campaign, DSP banner ads, complemented by native standard and video ads, were launched through Yahoo’s inventory, including owned-and-operated platforms and audience extension on other platforms. Creatives were also optimised for mobile viewing and formats, ensuring a seamless user experience. As the campaign progressed, the bid strategy was continuously updated across key milestones, focusing on fundamental audience acquisition drivers such as top-visited sites and mobile devices that drove higher conversion volumes. Refreshed ad visuals and copy that optimised towards user action –– such as a countdown clock that drives urgency and user action –– were also periodically served to boost click-through rates (CTR) and conversion.

To further scale up the campaign and connect with a larger user cohort, Yahoo leveraged its own suite of DSP capabilities to supercharge the campaign’s reach and precisely target different audience segments that were deemed relevant. We served ads to Yahoo’s first-party interest segments, such as snacks, groceries, and gaming consoles, as well as Custom Audiences modelled after purchase receipt segments that included online groceries and gaming products. The campaign also leveraged ‘Lookalike audiences’ modelled after Doritos’ existing customer base. Retargeting users who have previously clicked on the ads or ‘Enter Now’ links but have not completed their conversion journey also helped push users down the conversion funnel.

Results

Through a compelling and exciting AR offering, amplified by the right mix of relevant advertisements alongside a full-suite of privacy-centric data points, targeting and machine learning tools on Yahoo’s DSP, we achieved a widely successful campaign with outstanding results for Doritos in the Philippines.

With the massive fanfare, registration for Doritos AR Quest had to be closed even before the end of the campaign, as registrations reached their planned maximum capacity ahead of the timeline. With more than 19k registered gamers, the campaign exceeded the target KPI by almost 10% before the early close of registrations. The campaign delivered impressive engagement and interaction, with an interaction rate on video ads of more than half. Right from the lead-up and in just over two months, the campaign quickly scaled to reach more than 15% of the country’s internet users - over 11 million users in the Philippines and over 140m impressions.

Optimising for user action, tools and formats such as Countdown Timers, complemented by ad copy refreshes to counter ad fatigue, helped to improve CTR rates by up to 50%. A comprehensive and precise retargeting strategy also boosted conversions by pushing users down the conversion funnel, resulting in 30% increases in CTR overall. Backed by machine-learning on Yahoo’s DSP, the campaign delivered a CTR that was 30% higher than the average industry benchmark in the Philippines, and also a CPC that was 40% lower - surpassing original goals and exceeding the main KPIs of the campaign.

With Doritos Quest, Yahoo and Doritos Philippines created a fun and immersive experience that helped keep consumers entertained and engaged at home – demonstrating a widely successful and popular mobile campaign that precisely and meaningfully connected audiences with their passion point through next-gen brand activations such as gamified AR.

This entry was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising Asia Pacific in 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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Yahoo is a global media and tech company connecting people to their passions. We reach almost a billion people worldwide, bringing them closer to what they love – from finance and commerce to gaming and news – with trusted products, content and tech that fuel their day. For partners, we provide a full-stack platform to grow businesses and drive more meaningful connections across advertising, search and media.

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