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Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit

Finalist in Brand Partnership


At the start of 2023, Doritos® launched its new creative platform, which centered around the big idea – “Try Another Angle™”. The idea behind Trying Another Angle was to inspire people to try new things and see the world through an unexpected – triangular – lens.  

Doritos set out to deliver the unexpected and further inject itself into culture. We wanted consumers to think “Doritos did WHAT?!” So…what did we do?  

The answer: an unexpected collaboration to disrupt the spirit industry. To get people to Try Another Angle in the most unexpected way, Doritos partnered with Empirical, founded by the minds behind one of the World’s best restaurants, Noma. The self-proclaimed “flavor company” created a Doritos-inspired spirit that tasted just like the brand’s most iconic flavor, Nacho Cheese.   

To help introduce it to the world and get people to try it, we also partnered with Eater given their distinctive edge in the food scene to create a one-of-a-kind experience around the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit. 


The Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor is iconic and has traversed different snack categories such as popcorn, sandwich crackers, jerky. Fans love Doritos Nacho Cheese so much that they relish experimenting and have thus created countless, unexpected recipes. Through the Empirical partnership, this iconic flavor was being distilled into a new form, and all that flavor had to come from somewhere, right? What if Doritos spread the word that the Nacho Cheese flavor went missing from their favorite chips? With that single idea, the creative idea behind the program was born – #FlavorHeist. 

Phase 1 – Tease: To start creating buzz, Doritos distributed limited edition “No Nacho Cheese” bags to influencers, making them question “where did all the flavor go?” To spread the word in a big way, Doritos leveraged a marquee billboard in the center of Times Square to get consumers asking who was behind the great #FlavorHeist. Additional digital street signage in New York and social/digital media served to amplify the messaging and encourage fan engagement. 

Phase 2 – Reveal: After a week of anticipation, Doritos revealed that the Nacho Cheese Flavor went into a spirit, through a one-of-a-kind collaboration with Empirical. We splashed the news across social, digital, our Times Square billboard, and digital street signage. For the lucky influencers who got their hands on a bag of our “No Nacho Cheese” chips, the card inside the bag led them to a microsite where they could RSVP to a special event. 

Phase 3 – Sustain: To create a sensational grand finale, Doritos tapped Eater, an expert on all things food and a leader in experiential events, to bring the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit to consumers through an experiential event in the city that is known for their food culture. 

Eater transformed 74Wythe, a swanky new venue in Brooklyn, with LED triangle lights and triangle projectors, establishing a vibrant atmosphere in Doritos Nacho Cheese’s signature red and triangle shape. They also created a visually striking setup photo booth, enticing users to create an insta-worthy moment. The star of the night was “The Vault” showcasing the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit in a custom bank vault display tying into the #FlavorHeist big idea.  

Knowing consumers’ passion to experiment with Doritos-integrated recipes and further elevate the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit tasting experience, one-of-a-kind food and beverage pairings were passed out throughout the night. Each bite (both savory and sweet) was infused with Doritos Nacho Cheese to boost the taste of the spirit and, of course, highlight the iconic Nacho Cheese flavor.  

Overall, the evening attracted influencers, local tastemakers, and Doritos super-fans lucky enough to snag an invite. From the interactive photo moment and custom lighting Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese cocktails and bites, Eater helped elevate and celebrate this unexpected collaboration! 


The results of this epic campaign and event were truly astounding. Doritos certainly drove buzz and broke through culture. By the time the activation even started, we had already surpassed earned benchmarks and went viral! 

As for building credibility in the culinary space, the experiential activation with Eater certainly did the trick.  


Video for Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit

Entrant Company / Organization Name

OMD U.S., Doritos


Entry Credits