- PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America chip brand Ruffles has teamed with NBA star LeBron James on the latest iteration of its "Own Your Ridges" campaign, according to a press release.
- To kick off a multiyear partnership with the brand, James will star in a TV spot entitled "Ruffles D.N.A." that is set to Kendrick Lamar's "D.N.A." and will debut during the NBA's Christmas Day games. The spot features true stories of four individuals who overcame obstacles in their lives.
- Along with the TV spot and elements across retail, social media and beyond, the campaign includes a partnership between the LeBron James Family Foundation, Ruffles and the PepsiCo Foundation that seeks to uplift communities through education, job training and more.
Ruffles' latest iteration of its "Own Your Ridges" campaign finds PepsiCo leveraging its relationship with LeBron James, the global superstar who made the jump to the beverage and snack company after nearly 18 years with archrival Coca-Cola. While their first partnership highlighted a new product, the latest James-PepsiCo collaboration focuses on a staple of the company's Frito-Lay North America snack portfolio.
Tapping James for the Ruffles effort comes as PepsiCo looks to build on growth in its snack portfolio. The company gained market share in the salty and savory snack categories last quarter, with Frito-Lay seeing organic revenue increase 5%, per CNBC. PepsiCo could be looking to strengthen its position as the latest COVID-19 surge causes consumers to continue snacking on familiar comfort foods as they did early in the pandemic.
As with previous "Own Your Ridges" efforts, James' TV spot focuses on individuality, tweaking the theme to highlight how people face and respond to life's challenges. The 60-second spot alludes to James' upbringing in Akron, Ohio, along with real-life stories of a blind skateboarder, a female barber, a single father and a former convict, shifting the spot in a more meaningful, purpose-driven direction than past campaigns — one that is underscored by a partnership between charitable foundations.
"Just like the ridges that set Ruffles apart from any other chip out there, our personal ridges are what make us unique," Stacy Taffet, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, said in the press release. "Own Your Ridges is all about embracing the challenges that have shaped who we are today... We hope this campaign inspires others to celebrate the things in life that make them who they are — no matter how difficult those experiences might be."
James previously starred in a Mtn Dew Rise Energy ad produced by agency TBWA\Chiat\Day NY, that highlighted his accomplishments as a basketball player, father, businessman and philanthropist. Earlier this year, Ruffles launched its first TV campaign in almost a decade with two commercials starring Anthony Davis, James' teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers.
PepsiCo's latest effort with James demonstrates how brands — especially ones in the consumer packaged goods industry — are focusing their marketing efforts on culture to foster deeper connections with younger consumers. That need is reverberating through the marketing and entertainment industry: talent agency UTA last week acquired MediaLink to help its client list build relationships with brands.