Watch the Ad Doritos Doesn’t Want You to See

The video, produced by an Australian advocacy group, targets PepsiCo’s palm oil policies.
Jan 17, 2015·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

A faux Doritos ad seeks to lay bare the palm oil business behind PepsiCo’s products. But after the video attracted more than a million views online, the food and beverage giant has fired back.

The clip depicts a couple who bond over their strong appetite for Doritos, only to discover in the end a rainforest in ruins—the result of the process of making their favorite chips. According to the video, which was released by the Australian advocacy group SumOfUs this week, PepsiCo buys 427,500 tons of palm oil every year. The organization has paid for ads to run on buses in the U.K. as well.

PepsiCo has since slammed the ad, accusing the organization of deceiving the public about its palm oil policies.

“PepsiCo has repeatedly stated that we are absolutely committed to 100 percent sustainable palm oil in 2015 and to zero deforestation in our activities and sourcing,” the company said in a statement. “This latest public relations stunt, focused on fiction rather than facts, does nothing to foster positive dialogue or affect positive change. We find our policies effective and stand by them.”

In response, according to Advertising Age, SumOfUs is circulating a letter it sent with the Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Union of Concerned Scientist to PepsiCo back in July, after the beverage and food maker made its commitment to improve its palm oil policies. It asserts that the company’s plans are lacking.

According to the letter, while the coalition is “encouraged,” PepsiCo needs to strengthen its plans by clarifying its practices’ scope, imposing independent verification of suppliers, and promoting full traceability to guarantee that raw materials indeed come from sustainable sources. The company made its commitment through Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, a nonprofit that provides palm oil certifications. While the group raises much needed awareness about the palm oil industry that threatens many endangered species, such as the orangutan, its effectiveness has been debated, and accountability remains in the hands of companies.

“Rain forests across Southeast Asia are destroyed every day to make way for massive palm oil plantations,” SumOfUs campaigns director Kaytee Riek said in a statement. “Given the high profile nature of the Doritos Super Bowl campaign, we’re using the opportunity to educate consumers around the world about PepsiCos’ irresponsible palm oil sourcing policy.”