Skip to Content

Super Bowl LI: Why It’s In the Bag

This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

The must-have Super Bowl party accessory this year is a bag of Tostitos. Not the chips, mind you. Just the bag.

The Tostitos “Party Safe” bag has a built-in alcohol sensor: Breathe into it after sipping one too many and the side of the bag turns a bright neon red, flashing the message, “Don’t Drink and Drive” and offering a code for a discounted Uber ride.

No surprise, the Twittersphere has embraced the idea with snarky glee. The Lawrence, Kansas, police department tweeted out:

“If you have to blow into a Tostitos bag to know if you’re intoxicated, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT DRIVE.” Others suggested that the offering will only spawn drinking games (I’m sure of that, too.) And here is my favorite, from the clever @thetugboatphil: “But Occifer…they’re Chiplo…Chiptol…Chelopt….Ranch flavor.”

But let me go out on a limb and say, “Hail to Thee, Oh Frito-Lay marketing wizards.” Why? Because it gets a nation talking about something that actually needs talking about.

As of late morning, YouTube viewers had clicked on the long and short versions of the Tostitos video campaign a remarkable 4,066,620 times. And so millions of people have seen Delanie Walker, a tight end who now plays for the Tennessee Titans, talk powerfully about losing his Aunt Alice and Uncle Bryan to a drunk driver who smashed into their car. The couple was driving to their hotel from the New Orleans Superdome, after coming to see their nephew play for the Niners in the big game.

In 2015, drunk drivers killed or injured some 300,000 people, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has partnered with Frito-Lay on the Tostitos effort. And Super Bowls are particularly bloody nights in this regard, as researchers have reported for years. What’s more, the fatalities seem to be higher when it’s a close game.

So this Sunday, hope for a blowout. Enjoy some chips. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t drink and drive.