- Doritos released an artificial intelligence-powered software tool that claims to cancel the “crunch” sound heard from snacking on its chips in audio chats, per a press release.
- The Doritos Silent tech is targeted at PC gamers. Thirty-percent of surveyed gamers in the U.S. said hearing fellow players crunch impedes their performance during gaming sessions, according to Doritos.
- The solution, which is available to download online and runs only on Windows, was developed over six months with partner Smooth Technology by analyzing thousands of snippets of crunches. Doritos teased the idea of silencing its products with social media and out-of-home (OOH) ads ramping up to the reveal.
Noise-canceling headphones are having a moment as the underlying technology has grown sophisticated enough to drown out the sounds of busy commutes and offices to let people focus on their music and podcasts. Doritos is porting over the concept to the gaming arena, seeking to alleviate frustrations stemming from having to listen to other players eat during online play sessions. The goal is to reach the 80% of Gen Z and millennial consumers who view themselves as gamers, per NewZoo research cited in the press release.
Doritos’ effort toys with a core appeal of its product — the tactile, crisp sensation of biting down on its chips — while giving the Frito-Lay marketer the chance to experiment in the booming field of AI. In practice, the crunch-cancellation software acts as a simple mic filter, with users able to activate a button that should sort out any munching noises they make while in the thick of a multiplayer battle.
The tool was built with help from Smooth Technology, a Brooklyn-based creative engineering and design studio, and spearheaded by Doritos’ U.K. arm. To download the feature, consumers must submit their name and email address to a website, suggesting that Doritos could accrue valuable first-party data from the promotion.
Advertising helped generate hype for the launch. Social posts and OOH placements planted the idea of “making Doritos silent” through images of the chips acting in place of noise-canceling headphones. The campaign ran in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Poland, Brazil and Portugal. Doritos has also released spots that dramatize crunch cancellation in an over-the-top fashion.
Other marketers have ramped up their overtures to PC gamers, who tend to be more invested in the hobby than casual players since building a rig that can run modern games tends to be an expensive and time-intensive process. Heineken Brazil in September debuted a gaming PC that doubled as a fridge for keeping its beers cold.