- Frito-Lay is promoting its Flamin' Hot flavor by teaming up with Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion for a campaign around the fictitious Flamin' Hot University, per a press release. The effort is the first national campaign that brings together the entire Flamin' Hot portfolio, including Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles, Funyuns and more.
- Along with a humorous online video, the effort includes short online courses on food, fashion and lifestyle and a limited-edition merchandise collection created by streetwear designer Melody Ehsani. Flamin' Hot will also make a $100,000 contribution to the Pete and Thomas Foundation, the non-profit organization Megan launched in 2022.
- Proceeds from the merch collection will go towards a scholarship fund, up to $150,000, at Texas Southern University, an HBCU and Megan's alma mater. The effort comes as student loan debt remains a political hot topic.
Frito-Lay's Flamin' Hot flavor is re-teaming with self-described "Hot Girl" Megan Thee Stallion for a fun campaign timed to the upcoming homecoming season at colleges and universities. The rapper stars in a humorous online video that features the fictitious Flamin' Hot University, where students and alumni greet each other with cheers of "FU!"
A TikTok video from this summer in which Megan used Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in a fried pickles recipe has notched more than 6 million views, suggesting content from the rapper around food has serious resonance with young consumers. As part of the Flamin' Hot University rollout, Frito-Lay has launched FlaminHotUniversity.com (which redirects to its direct-to-consumer e-commerce site Snacks.com) to bring together limited-time offerings and "snackable" courses from the food, fashion and lifestyle departments.
As it has in the past, Frito-Lay is utilizing branded merchandise to engage with younger consumers as it looks to position itself as a lifestyle brand. The collection includes a varsity jacket, "Hot Girl Club" sweater, tennis skirt, "Flamin' Hot" jersey, nameplate necklace and more and is designed by Melody Ehsani, a designer who has collaborated with brands including Nike, Reebok and Foot Locker and celebrities including Beyoncé and Serena Williams.
The campaign has a two-pronged charitable component, with proceeds from the merch going to a newly established scholarship fund at Megan's alma mater, Texas Southern, and Frito-Lay donating $100,000 to the Pete and Thomas Foundation. Founded by the rapper in 2022, the non-profit organization works to assist women, children, senior citizens, and underserved communities in Houston, Texas and across the world around education, housing and health and wellness. The scholarship fund comes at a time when student loan debt remain a political hot topic, which the brand acknowledged in a press release.
"Everyone deserves to be their Flamin' Hot self, but student loans can create a significant burden on college graduates – especially at HBCUs where students graduate with 19% more debt than those at non-HBCUs," said Tina Mahal, senior vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay, citing Center for Responsible Lending data. "The Flamin' Hot University scholarship fund at TSU was designed to ease some of the financial pressures student loans bring so graduates can focus on unleashing their hottest potential."
Megan previously collaborated with Frito-Lay on its co-branded 2022 Super Bowl ad for Doritos and Cheetos Flamin’ Hot which reimagined Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It." The rapper in 2021 teamed with Popeyes for a new sauce and merch collection that tapped into her then-nascent celebrity and “Hot Girl” persona.
Frito-Lay this year has focused much of its marketing around sports, making its largest-ever investment in women’s sports by signing as a tournament sponsor and Official USA Snack of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Frito-Lay brands were also featured in a campaign from parent PepsiCo timed to the beginning of the NFL season.