Frito-Lay's TrueNorth Nut Brand Joins Oscar® - Winner Helen Hunt to Put the Spotlight on People Pursuing Their Life's Passions

November 17, 2008

Winner’s Story to Air In a Commercial During the 81st Annual Academy Awards® Broadcast

PLANO, Texas - TrueNorth is a contemporary brand of 100% natural, great tasting nut snacks. “True North” is also a singular passion in life that can leave a legacy, empower others or simply make the world a more interesting place to live. The TrueNorth brand announced today that it will partner with Oscar®-winning actress Helen Hunt to find the most compelling “True North” story. The program was born out of the desire to celebrate and share the stories of people who are pursuing their dreams.

TrueNorth invites consumers to submit a written essay that describes how they (or someone they know) are pursuing their life’s passion, for an opportunity to have their story told in the form of a 60-second commercial aired during the 81st Annual Academy Awards broadcast on Feb. 22, 2009. The contest winner will be selected in early January and the inspirational spot will be directed by OSCAR®-winning actress Helen Hunt. Details about the contest, including the official rules, are available now at

“The TrueNorth team found its passion in the process of making ordinary nuts into a new and extraordinary snacking experience,” explains Regan Ebert, vice president and general manager, warehouse direct business, Frito-Lay North America. “As we’ve shared our brand and our story, we found people with passions that are almost cinematic. We want to find people who have found their “True North” and put a spotlight on their powerful stories.”

“After ten years, my passion project and ‘True North’ came to fruition last year with the release of Then She Found Me,” explains director of the film, Helen Hunt. “When TrueNorth approached me, I was drawn to this project because it would allow me to play a part in sharing someone’s extraordinary story.”

“True North” stories submitted between October 20 and December 31, 2008 will be judged for the coveted commercial directed by Helen Hunt, which will air during the Academy Awards broadcast on February 22, 2009. And by encouraging people to share their stories, TrueNorth hopes this invitation will also inspire people to find the passion that drives them to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

A native of Los Angeles, Helen Hunt grew up in an artistic environment. Her father, Gordon Hunt, is a director and respected acting coach and her singing teacher is one of Hollywood's finest voice coaches, her grandmother, Dorothy Fries. From her earliest work in community theater, to the New York Broadway stage, to her film and television performances, critics continuously recognize her for her outstanding performances.

Hunt made her acting debut on television in 1973's "Pioneer Woman". Since then, her career has spiraled at a rapid pace, to encompass over 15 movies for television, numerous film appearances, three television series, one Oscar, four Emmy’s, five Golden Globe Awards and a coveted Screen Actors Guild Award among many others. This year, Hunt made her big-screen directorial debut with the release of her passion project Then She Found Me, based on the novel by Elinor Lipman, in which she also stars, co-wrote and co-produced.

TrueNorth is the snack category-exclusive advertiser on this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, which entitles the brand to air commercials during the pre-show and awards show, as well as sponsorship acknowledgments during the 81st Annual Academy Awards. One of the sixty-second commercials that will air during the show will feature the extraordinary story of the TrueNorth contest winner.

This commercial will celebrate one extraordinary story, while also kicking off the brand’s 2009 advertising campaign, which will highlight real people who have pursued their life's passions. Following the Academy Awards airings, TrueNorth will roll out national television, print and online advertising that feature three inspiring stories discovered during the brand’s inaugural year. They include Teddy Gross, who is empowering children with the power of a penny; Gary Greff, who is using the art of sculpture to revive his hometown of Regent, North Dakota; and Majora Carter, who is bringing nature and a green-mindset to the South Bronx.

Frito-Lay North America is the $11 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo, which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana.