Musburger's line goes viral

  • Updated: January 12, 2011 - 7:17 AM

Frito Lay executives were probably jumping for joy when Brent Musburger uttered Auburn's new battle cry, which whipped up a Twitter storm.

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Some of the Tostitos

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press - Ap

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Past generations have had their famous sports calls. "The Giants win the pennant!" "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" "And we'll see you tomorrow night." Etc.

A classic call tends to resonate long-term because it gives you a sense of time and place. Brent Musburger's call of "This is for all the Tostitos" as Auburn lined up for the field goal that won Monday night's BCS title game thriller might not be a classic as it relates to others, but it did give a great snap shot on a couple of levels of where we are in sports in 2011.

Corporate tie-ins

CNBC's sports business maven Darren Rovell reported that an ESPN spokesperson said Frito Lay didn't pay anyone for the famous line. He also tweeted that he estimated the "All the Tostitos" utterance "was worth $2.5 million in equivalent advertising," or the value of about 90 seconds of advertisements.

Given that it's taken on a life of its own, it wouldn't be surprising if it was worth even more. Sure, the line won't be burning up the Internet forever, but we can imagine it being revisited by fans at grocery stores, at next year's bowl game and in countless other situations.

We can also imagine Frito Lay executives watching at a private party (or hearing it on a broadcast while in a private suite) and practically doing cartwheels knowing what it meant for their brand.

The sheer volume of people paying attention to sports across so many different media platforms is the reason it's such a big business. "All the Tostitos" drives that point home.

Internet explosion

We don't watch sports on TV the same way we did even five years ago. Many of us are on laptops or other mobile devices in a "virtual sports bar," trying to one-up other funny and/or plugged-in people with one-liners on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

The convergence of a major sporting event and Musburger's line created the perfect storm. Within seconds, tweeters all over were using the #allthetostitos hashtag to have plenty of fun with Musburger's call. Among our favorites:

• @Bobby_BigWheel and his variation on a line from "The Social Network": "A million Tostitos isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion Tostitos."

• @suss2hyphens and his play on an old Seinfeld episode: "He's an importer/exporter." "What does he import?" "Chips." "What kind?" "All the Tostitos."

And to think tortilla chips used to just be a snack food to enjoy during a quiet night watching the game.

MICHAEL RAND

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