SBJ/20090629/SBJ In-Depth

Race results in a double-dip for Texas at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Tostitos supplemented its annual title sponsorship of the BCS game in Arizona with a 2,500-mile race between two of the more passionate schools in college football.

The “Race to the Bowl” pitted six fans from both Ohio State and Texas — the two teams that competed in the Jan. 4 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl — in a race that started in New York City four days before the game.

Tostitos, consulting with The Marketing Arm, selected the teams from submissions on an official Facebook page that attracted more than 1,000 entries between Nov. 26 and Dec. 14. Individuals submitted essays and took part in interviews about their fandom.

Roughly 15,000 Facebook users became fans of the special Tostitos “Race to the Bowl” page. The site attracted the expected comments from fans jawing before and after the bowl game. But the page also provided a forum for users to comment on Tostitos products, such as one post begging the company to “please, please, please” never take away its jalapeño-flavored chips.

Texas fans won $200,000 for the university’s
scholarship fund.

The two teams met in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 31 for their first challenge, a passing drill outside the “Fox & Friends” studio in Manhattan. After that, the teams walked up and down 5th Avenue holding Tostitos bags and asking for donations while performing their respective school fight songs. Tostitos produced videos of each competition and posted them on a special YouTube channel. The videos drew roughly 2,500 views in a week.

The teams then traveled to sports bars in their school’s respective hometowns to paint the school colors on as many faces as possible. From there they traveled to the Las Vegas Strip to toss a giant inflated Tostitos football through Tostitos goal posts outside Planet Hollywood.

Finally, the teams competed in an obstacle course in the shadow of a 15-foot-tall bag of Tostitos near University of Phoenix Stadium, which hosted the bowl game. The University of Texas fans were declared the winners and received $200,000 for their school’s scholarship fund during the bowl game’s halftime show. Ohio State, which also lost the real game, received $50,000 in scholarship money for the losing effort.

— Jon Show

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