Snack maker Frito-Lay isn't dropping $1 million-plus on a Tostitos chips Super Bowl television ad this year, but it's still getting in on the marketing hype around the big NFL championship game.
Tostitos, the official chip of Super Bowl LI, created a limited run of "Party Safe" chip bags that tell you if you've been drinking.
I got my hands on one of these bags and, yes, I'm about to breathe heavily on a Tostitos package.
I have everything prepared: a bowl of Tostitos corn chips, a microwavable tray of queso dip, the Party Safe bag and a bottle of rye whiskey. I'm not messing around here. I turn on the battery-powered bag and try it out without a whisper of alcohol on my tongue. The bag's light-up blue circle glows green. I'm good to go.
Next, I knock back about a half ounce of whiskey and try the bag again. This time it glows red, with an additional display showing an Uber coupon code and a big notice reading "Don't drink and drive." I am totally OK with taking instructions from a bag of Tostitos.
The bag comes with a big warning: "This is not an actual breathalyzer. Under no circumstances should you rely on the results of the device to determine intoxication levels which may result in decisions to operate vehicles or equipment of any kind or participate in any type of activity, task or duty."
The unusual prototype bags came out of a partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and ride service Uber. While the Party Safe bags aren't available to the general public, specially marked regular Tostitos bags found at the store will give snackers a coupon for $10 off an Uber ride in the US on Feb. 5, Super Bowl Sunday. This is meant to encourage people who've been drinking at Super Bowl parties to get home in a safe manner.
I give the bag 10 minutes off and then try it again. I get a green light. I pop another half ounce of whiskey down the hatch and it screams red again. It definitely does a good job of noticing a fresh dose of alcohol.
The Party Safe bag might be a marketing stunt, but it's a marketing stunt with a purpose. The ultimate lesson here is that people who are off drinking at football shindigs should arrange responsible transportation home. You shouldn't need a chip bag to tell you that, but it doesn't hurt to hear it from your favorite snack food.
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