Case Study

Frito-Lay has been pioneering the world of snack foods since its founding in 1961. In 1965, Frito-Lay joined with Pepsi-Cola to form PepsiCo. and bring joy to snack lovers everywhere. Today, their joint mission to Win with Purpose is defined by winning in the marketplace, accelerating growth, and staying committed to the planet and the company’s communities. The Frito-Lay family includes 50,000 employees across 29 individual snack brands — the potatoes the company uses each year would reach the moon and back if you stacked them end to end, allowing them to produce about 100 pounds of snacks per second.

As a snacking mainstay, the Frito-Lay brand did not lack visibility in the market. Instead, the goal was to boost perception and product affinity in contrast to other snack brands during the busy holiday season. The brand’s agency, OMD, went in search of unique, memorable, and engaging ad formats for the Frito-Lay holiday campaign. After hearing good things about the proven engagement track record of Tapjoy’s INTERACTIVE END CARDS (IECS), OMD reached out to Tapjoy for help introducing IECs to their omnichannel approach during the noisiest season of the year.

2.6 million

Completed views

27 seconds

Average time in ads


Game completion rate, 2.5x benchmark


Game replay rate

Cutting through the noise to maximize brand lift

Launching a pilot campaign to test IECs was a natural next step in Frito-Lay’s exploration of contextually relevant placements through mobile and programmatic ad channels. This initial IEC campaign would need to build a clear picture of the campaign’s performance impact, making it easy to understand the results and bolstering the company’s multi-channel approach to media.

OMD’s main goal for their first foray into IECs was to achieve maximum brand lift for Frito-Lay over the course of a one-month test during the holiday season. The team wanted to drive engagements without sacrificing brand safety, so it was essential to reach the broadest possible audience while ensuring placements were aligned with Frito-Lay’s standards.

Driving engagement within an awareness campaign was also top of mind for OMD. How could Frito-Lay leverage new ad formats to get more out of their efforts than they could with standalone video, for example? Testing IECs was intended to use the format’s naturally occurring added value engagement tactics to push the possibilities of awareness campaigns even further.

Because the campaign would be tied to Frito-Lay’s holiday promotion, one of the key challenges was to drive brand distinction in the crowded CPG food brand marketplace. The team wanted to broaden the target audience to ensure more consumers would be able to view the campaign. At the same time, Frito-Lay is an incredibly well-known snack company with half a century of history behind it. To cut through the holiday noise, the campaign creative needed to tap into that legacy with an innovative approach to user engagement.

“In-app advertising is an incredibly promising growth channel, but to make the most of it, CPG brands need to tap into consumer passions and engage them at key points in the customer journey. We tested Interactive End Cards to forge a relevant, emotional connection with consumers when they’re most receptive.”

Interactive end cards provide a memorable & engaging brand experience

Frito-Lay turned to the mobile growth strategists at Tapjoy to create a holiday IEC campaign that would capture consumer interest in brand-safe publisher apps. Since awareness campaigns that rely on video alone often see low engagement and struggle with brand lift, Tapjoy’s Interplay Design Studio™, developed an interactive creative strategy designed to enhance the brand experience. The IEC playable actively engaged users with the Frito-Lay brand beyond what is possible through a standalone video format, resulting in a more memorable experience and, ultimately, more brand lift.

The team ultimately selected a Match 3 concept that prompted players to swipe to match popular Frito-Lay snacks: Doritos, Lays, Tostitos, and Smartfood popcorn. Once a player met the goal of matching all four snacks successfully, they won the game. Details like game goals and recognizable Frito-Lay products kept players engaged. When paired with video, this IEC bookended a memorable minute and a half featuring a popular celebrity extolling the virtues of Frito-Lay snacks.

With brand safety set as a top priority, the Tapjoy team prepared a custom allow list of brand-safe apps, eliminating anything associated with violence or mature content and ensuring that ads would only appear in relevant, contextually appropriate settings. Because it was important for Frito-Lay to expand their consumer reach, Tapjoy’s mobile growth strategists applied fairly broad targeting to the campaign within those app-limited constraints.

Strong engagement and repeat play achieve holiday brand lift

The campaign results were strong across the board; the IECs received 2.6 million video views in a one-month time frame. While the holiday season sees high saturation with cross-channel advertising, the IEC delivered key results like added reach and interactive engagement opportunities.

Through an impressive average of 27 seconds spent in ad, the campaign also drove additional engagement and time spent with the brand than would be possible with other formats, like standalone video ads. Those 27 seconds of active engagement along with an average game completion rate of 58% — beating Tapjoy’s 20% benchmark by nearly 3X — shows the effectiveness of the creative in encouraging people to stick around and play.

The team found that the standalone IEC saw a stronger game completion rate at 75%, but fewer replays. Combined, both placements received a 12.95% game replay rate, beating Tapjoy’s 7.5% benchmark and showing that the creative was both enjoyable and engaging enough to keep consumers interested in multiple rounds of Frito-Lay-filled gameplay.

Despite their comfort with mobile ads as a social channel, mobile gaming was a new and profitable experiment for OMD and the Frito-Lay brand. Through this campaign, the Tapjoy team helped Frito-Lay simultaneously meet their primary goal of driving brand awareness during the holiday season and understanding the hard numbers behind their campaign’s results to facilitate future mobile ad spend planning.

“Tapjoy understood how important it is for CPG brands like ours to reach broader audiences through mobile advertising. They worked with us to create engaging playable ad experiences and tie every piece of creative back to measurable performance impact.”

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