The best part about eating Cheetos? You get to eat some Cheetos? The worst part about eating Cheetos? The fact that most of the dust – now dubbed “Cheetle” – is left all over your fingers, rendering you incapable of picking up things, filing paperwork, or changing babies. Essentially, as Mc Hammer says during Cheetos Popcorn’s Super Bowl LIV commercial, “u can’t touch this.” As an unnamed Cheetos Popcorn eater goes about his day, up pops Hammer to deliver his signature line. From behind a cubicle, out from a rolled-up rug, and even as a rapping baby – MC Hammer is there. He also transforms a picnic blanket into a pair of his signature parachute pants, before snatching some Cheetos Popcorn for himself.
Cheetos gave fans a taste of what to expect with their return to the Super Bowl. In the preview, a young MC Hammer is sitting at his piano in 1989’s Oakland, a bag of Cheetos in his hand. He’s humming a familiar tune, and when he goes to strike a piano key, he stops. After gazing at his finger, covered in the dust now known as “Cheetle,” the young Stanley Burrell realizes he “can’t touch this” piano. The moment he utters that phrase, a lightbulb goes on, and the rest is history. Seems Cheetos are responsible for a catchphrase that would become synonymous with early ’90s hip-hop.
“Cheetos is such an iconic and beloved brand that has gained even more popularity in the last decade, so we saw the Super Bowl as the only fitting place to debut our biggest product launch in a decade with Cheetos Popcorn,” said Rachel Ferdinando, Senior VP, and chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America, in a statement per AdWeek. “And of course, joining our mischievous brand identity in a playful way with MC Hammer was a perfect fit. It’s two icons coming together—Cheetos and Hammertime—in a relatable story about the Cheetle that sticks to everyone’s fingers when eating Cheetos.”
It has been over a decade since Cheetos ran a Super Bowl ad. The last time was during 2009’s XLIII, and the commercial (via Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, per AdWeek) was one of Cheetos’ earliest steps to market its product to an older audience. In the spot, a loud, obnoxious woman talks outside a restaurant (I must be on the ugly side of town. Everyone here is, like, really gross.”) A female customer overhears this and, after the encouragement of a CGI Chester the Cheetah, throws down some Cheetos at the obnoxious woman’s feet. A flock of pigeons swoops down, driving the loud-talking woman away. “Give Daddy a kiss,” Chester says to one of the pigeons, who is suddenly wearing a falconry hood. The ad represented a new direction for the brand when it came to advertising, following brands like Skittles and Mountain Dew by embracing its weird side.