Doritos partnered with Netflix's Stranger Things to put on the greatest concert that never happened: "Live From The Upside Down." By turning a Doritos bag into the ticket for a 1986 music festival in the Upside Down, Doritos drove sales, increased market share, and contributed to the most significant Stranger Things season ever.
For Doritos, the main goal was finding interesting new ways to stay relevant in pop culture. For Netflix, the key objective was getting fans excited for the fourth season of Stranger Things. Both Doritos and Netflix targeted a younger generation hungry for new things, even if that meant igniting a new sense of nostalgia for the '80s.
By partnering with Netflix's Stranger Things 4, Doritos demonstrated the power of bringing audiences back in time to move the brand forward. Doritos has deep ties with the '80s, and Stranger Things is an ode to those years. So the partnership needed to excite people today while being true to our shared heritage.
Doritos let fans access the greatest concert that never was, featuring iconic '80s artists performing live from the Upside Down. Designed to transport the audience into Stranger Things through a unique and authentic Upside Down environment, we created a set and filmed the artists, then applied the Stranger Things special effects so that it appeared as if the bands were playing LIVE from the Upside Down.
We wanted to market Doritos Music Fest '86 as a concert with a throughline that consumers could follow – from the mythology of Doritos Music Fest '86 to artist promos, line-up posters, merch, and digital integrations. Packaging was central to participation. We used Doritos bags as tickets, with an instructional CTA to drive tune-in: "Scan a bag. Open the portal. Enjoy the show."
The 30-minute concert featured the '80s hits "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips are Sealed" from The Go-Go's, Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" and "Never Surrender," Soft Cell performing "Tainted Love" as a surprise duet with decade-defying pop star Charli XCX.
As a first-of-its-kind virtual concert, the production played a vital role. It's ominous, moody, and covered in vines and spores. There are easter eggs from the show all over the set: BMX Bikes lying in the mud, a broken chain-link fence with a "Hawkins National Laboratory" sign, a phone booth, a "Dig Dug" arcade cabinet, half-buried TVs, Walkie-Talkies, and more. The TVs play a loop of VHS static where we sporadically catch clips and moments from Stranger Things Season 4 and authentic Doritos ads from the '80s.
The Doritos and Stranger Things partnership heightened the benchmark of what two iconic brands can accomplish when coming together. Integrating the Doritos bag into the experience, we turned engagement into sales and sales into engagement. We created an unreplicable experience by worldbuilding with fans, harnessing the superpowers of heritage and music.
The partnership generated demand:
+11% Doritos Sales Lift
+10% Doritos 3D Sales Lift
The partnership fired up fans:
303.4 Million Views Across Owned Media
365K+ Concert Invite Scans – 18x the capacity of Madison Square Garden (one of the largest concert venues in the US)
22.5K+ YouTube Live Chat Messages (11 chats per second) – certified by YouTube as the most active live chat since Beyonce's Coachella live stream
7:01 Average View Duration – YouTube can't recall seeing a duration longer than this!
38% Above YouTube's Concurrent Viewers Benchmark for Live Streams
The press picked up the partnership:
4.46 Billion Impressions
582 Earned Placements
#1 Share of Voice across ALL Stranger Things 4 Partnerships
As a result, the partnership helped Doritos capture a +1pt lift in market share, representing an annualized value of $45 Million (a herculean task given its leading position in the category).
Ultimately, season 4 of Stranger Things became a cultural phenomenon and the biggest streaming premiere, garnering 1.35 Billion hours viewed in the first 28 days, as well as Americans' Favorite TV show and Most-Streamed Program of 2022.