Doritos Hotel 626 Case Study

Creating immersive environments

With its Hotel and Asylum 626 campaigns, Doritos created elaborate, immersive online games designed to trigger highly emotional, vulnerable experiences among teens and link online gaming environments to real-world products. The campaign’s virtual worlds, mimicking a serial killer’s hideout and torture-filled insane asylum respectively, both used sophisticated audio techniques and webcams to make users feel like they were there in person. Asylum 626 required viewers to submit a special code imprinted on Doritos bags to access the final scene and escape.8,9

Infiltrating social networks

Doritos made Facebook and Twitter a seamless part of these campaigns, particularly Asylum 626. To increase the intensity of the experience, viewers were encouraged to log in to the site through one of the social networks. The site then culled user profiles for information — Facebook photos and videos, for example — and incorporated them into the interactive experience. Using Facebook Connect, users could also allow two randomly chosen friends to join them in asylum. And participants could post rescue messages to friends on Twitter.10

Location-based and mobile marketing

Mobile technology was integrated into both the Hotel 626 and Asylum 626 campaigns. In Hotel 626, for example, trapped teens could only escape through a series of unpleasant challenges that required them to use their webcams, microphones and mobile phones. The challenges culminated with a call to teens’ actual cell phones with directions on how to get out.11,12

Collecting personal data

Using social media and mobile phones, Doritos facilitated the collection of site visitors’ personal information. Though viewers could access limited content without providing personal information, users were encouraged log in through Facebook and Twitter — and thus grant access to those accounts — to experience the “full treatment.”13

Studying and triggering the subconscious

It is unclear whether and to what extent neuromarketing influenced the design of the Hotel and Asylum 626 campaigns. However, Frito-Lay has used the controversial technique for some of its other products campaigns, including the 2009 Cheetos “Orange Underground” campaign, which won the U.S. ad industry’s highest research honors (the Grand Ogilvy).14


After the succes of the Hotel 626 campaign, Doritos has launched a new online experience, the Asylum 626. The Campaign is created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and produced by B-Reel. The new website is still scary and divided into stages where you have goals to meet and puzzles to unravel. You can interact via microphones and webcams to live the experience more realistic and the integration with Facebook and Twitter is a good addition. The scenes are very quickly cut and manage to scare even the toughest players fear.

You can check out the Asylum 626 website or watch the trailer. If you want to play the game in during the day time you can change the clock on your computer and try again.

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    B-Reel, Doritos Asylum 626, Goodby Silverstein & Partners

    Posted by: Fethi Uluak

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