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Pepsi and Doritos Monster Match Contest
In 1991, I was very into eating Doritos. I had liked them for a while, but as the late Eighties rolled around, they suddenly moved to the top of my personal snack chip pyramid. Frito Lay managed to make eating Doritos a lot more interesting, especially around the Halloween season by introducing the Monster Match for Monster Money contest in association with Pepsi.
The twenty million-dollar contest and its accompanying ad campaign were conceived by the Dallas-based advertising agency, Tracy-Locke, Inc. This was their first big campaign after being named Pepsi’s agency of record for national promotions.
It was one of the more unusual contests I ever followed along with and it was also terribly one-sided since I always paired my Doritos with Coca-Cola. So here is how the contest went, when you bought either Doritos or Pepsi, you would get a game piece that looked like half of a faux bill with one of the Universal Monster’s faces on it.
The left side of the game piece was provided by Pepsi, while the right side was provided by Doritos. In the upper corner of the piece was a monetary value that indicated how much you could win if you found the matching piece.
The Pepsi pieces were found in packs of Pepsi, but they were also printed under Pepsi bottle caps during the contest.
What Universal Monsters were included on the game pieces? Just about everyone worth mentioning. Check out this roster along with their cash value:
The Wolfman – $5
The Creature from the Black Lagoon – $25
The Mummy – $75
The Bride of Frankenstein – $500
Dracula – $1,500
Frankenstein – $1,000,000
As a bonus, even if you didn’t play or win, you got a very cool sticker of one of these monsters as well. Sadly, whatever I stuck mine to 30 years ago has vanished.
Now to win all you had to do was find the matching game piece from the other product. It seems easy enough, but the odds of winning were terribly low for any of the serious cash prizes, and impossible if you didn’t drink Pepsi AND eat Doritos. Here is a quick rundown of the odds.
Monster Match for Monster Money Prizes and Odds
$1,000,000 (1 in 96,489,513)
$1,500 (1 in 3,216,317)
$500 (1 in 1,270,032)
$75 (1 in 124,603)
$25 (1 in 96,252)
$5 (1 in 595)
Instant Win Discount Coupon (1 in 10)
The official end of the Monster Match for Monster Money contest was January 31, 1993.
My family junk drawer was filled with the Doritos halves of these game pieces. If I remember right, they also had a Cut-Out Monster Mobile on specific cases of Pepsi. It had 4 monsters and a bat you could cut out and string up on a hanger. I cut them out and into the drawer they went.
Stores at the time also got in on the act, offering special Monster contests of their own. Here is one from the Giant Eagle Supermarket chain that was running their own contest for a family of four to go to Universal Studios in Florida.
Even larger chains like Target were doing some “custom” advertising around the contest. In this ad, you get a pretty good shot of Frankenstein holding a spooky monster themed bag of Doritos and a game piece. I hope one Halloween, they decide to bring these bags back. They are amazing.
My favorite bit of custom advertising at the time has to be this Halloween ad from a Pizza Hut franchisee. The Halloween clip art is out in full force here and I love it.
While I never won any and of the prizes, I really enjoyed collecting the game pieces and stickers. The real gravy though was the advertising campaign. They had great displays in stores, graphics on packages, and of course a commercial starring Frankenstein.
In the commercial Frankenstein is being nagged non-stop by an off-camera voice who I assume is supposed to be the Bride of Frankenstein (who for some reason sounds like my Mother). Frank ain’t enjoying the nagging, but then he notices that he has both halves of the million-dollar prize. He triumphantly puts the pieces together and bails while the nagging voice continues.