Frito-Lay Will Take a Pass on Running Super Bowl Ads: Snack Maker Isn't the Only Big Company Skipping the Big Game

By Karen Robinson-Jacobs, The Dallas Morning News

For only the third time since 1993, snack king Frito-Lay Inc. will not be among the companies paying millions for Super Bowl ad time, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday.

Irene Rosenfeld told The Dallas Morning News that the company plans to focus its marketing might at the first of the year on new products such as Cheddar and Sour Cream Baked Lay’s potato chips.

But consumers should not expect to see those spots in the much-hyped gridiron showdown, where a 30-second spot is expected to cost $2.4 million, according to published reports.

“You’ll probably see some interesting things, not from us,” said Ms. Rosenfeld, who took over last year as head of the Plano-based snack maker, which is part of PepsiCo Inc.

“I have a little calendar page that says: ‘Lay’s runs Super Bowl ad. Awareness increases by .000004.’ So although it gives you enormous bragging rights, the facts are, at the end of the day, it’s a very expensive proposition that doesn’t give you a terrific payback.

“We’ve chosen to spend our money elsewhere this year.”

Spokesman Charles Nicolas said there was an “off chance” the company could switch gears at the last minute and field a player.

If Frito-Lay does take a pass, it won’t be alone.

Mediaweek, a trade publication, reported that Visa and McDonald’s also will opt out of Super Bowl XL, which is set to air Feb. 5 on ABC. Those firms, and others, may switch their ad dollars to February’s Winter Olympics, Mediaweek said.

But PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., will get airtime at the big game. The company is producing several new commercials but hasn’t decided how many, or which ones, will air, said a spokesman.