what it is: a legitimate doritos bag with an extra message. the seattle police department (SPD) wanted to remind attendees of hempfest, an annual rally in support of the legalization of marijuana, about staying on the right side of the law—even when that law now focuses on recreational and not criminal use. instead of distributing pamphlets, the SPD paid $260 for 1,000 bags of doritos, stuck on factual and humorous “do’s and don’ts” and handed out these munchies-satisfying snacks. demonstrating serious social media smarts, they attached the clever and eminently retweetable hashtag #operationorangefingers to their project and live-tweeted the entire effort.
why it works: this public service announcement displays a keen understanding of how to connect with an audience (and grab the spotlight). with a light touch, a terrific sense of humor, and an appreciation for doritos’ allure, the police aligned themselves with and not against those they needed to reach.
the cleverly named URL seattle.gov/police/marijwhatnow included on every bag offered another chance to review the law in language both nonjudgmental and instructive. national news has been all over the story, and the SPD received a big thumbs up from attendees. looks like this “big brother” has a winner.
why it doesn’t: with only 1,000 bags, the SPD ran out in about 10 minutes. tens of thousands were left uninformed and with unabated cravings.