SBD/January 12, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tostitos Says It Had Nothing To Do With Musburger's BCS Call

Frito-Lay North America VP/Marketing Justin Lambeth indicated that the company "had zero to do" with ESPN's Brent Musburger saying Auburn's game-winning field goal in Monday's BCS title game was "for all the Tostitos," according to USA TODAY. Lambeth, who helped negotiate Tostitos' title sponsorship of the BCS game, noted there is "nothing like it in the contract," and he "believes Musburger ad-libbed the line on his own." Lambeth: "We didn't have anything to do with it. We were just fortunate. ... We were delighted. We think it was a great call." He downplayed the thought of a "consumer backlash" due to the call. Lambeth said, "I think more consumers than not will find it very clever and funny versus saying, 'Gosh, what a cheesy plug.' Again, we didn't have anything to do with it." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz said that the net "did not ask Musburger to utter the line either." Krulewitz: "Absolutely not. He was having some fun" (USATODAY.com, 1/11). ESPN Exec VP/Production Norby Williamson said of the call, "I laughed. Typical Brent. He had a great game and at the end had some fun" (USA TODAY, 1/12).

SIGN OF THE TIMES: In Minneapolis, Michael Rand writes Musburger's Tostitos call "might not be a classic as it relates to others, but it did give a great snap shot on a couple of levels of where we are in sports." The phrase, and the reaction to it, has "taken on a life of its own." The line "won't be burning up the Internet forever, but we can imagine it being revisited by fans at grocery stores, at next year's bowl game and in countless other situations." Rand: "We can also imagine Frito Lay executives watching at a private party (or hearing it on a broadcast while in a private suite) and practically doing cartwheels knowing what it meant for their brand" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/12). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes under the header, "Brent Musburger's Tostitos Plug In Poor Taste." In that "instant after his quip, fans were left to wonder if they had heard what they thought they heard and, if so, for the love of all that is holy, why?" Rosenthal: "At worst, he was shilling. At best, he made a lousy joke. ... Yes, by all means, suck drama from the moment with a superfluous plug for the game's sponsor and leave a bad taste in all our mouths" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/12). Meanwhile, the NATIONAL POST's Bruce Arthur today writes his column under the header, "This Column Is For All The Tostitos" (NATIONAL POST, 1/12).

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