Country Music Legend Thomas Rhett Is Down For Everything With Fritos - Exclusive Interview

If your favorite snack food is Fritos, it's likely not because you've been inundated with TV ads enticing you to break into a crinkly bag of the salty, slightly sweet corn chips (We'll hazard a guess: you probably just love Fritos because they taste good). Interesting fact: Unlike other junk food favorites, like Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Fritos doesn't advertise on television — until now. The 90-year-old brand just released its first commercial in 20 years, starring country music star Thomas Rhett. Why did the American Country Music Male Artist of the Year and dad of four little ones decide to help the iconic snack brand wake from its advertising slumber?

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Rhett explained his passion for Fritos, and why this snack has always been a big part of his family's life. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, who has produced 21 singles on the Billboard Hot Country list and releases his sixth album, "Where We Started," on April 1, also revealed what surprised him most about shooting a national television commercial–and why we've all been holding our bags of Fritos the wrong way.

Why Thomas Rhett loves Fritos

Why did you choose to make a Fritos commercial?

I think going back into my artist career, I feel like anything that's ever been presented to me always has to feel authentic to me from a songwriting perspective to a brand perspective. When Fritos reached out and was like, "Hey, we're doing a commercial and a campaign for the first time in 20 years, we want you to be a part of it," I was like, "Wow, thank you."

I've always been a giant fan of the brand. I can see myself at five years old eating a Frito pie that my grandmother made or crumbling up Fritos and putting it on top of chili or whatever that may be. I'm also a pretty nostalgic songwriter, too. It's amazing to me, when I watch a movie, I can be taken back in time in the same way that I could eat an original Fritos chip and be taken back to my grandparents' kitchen. It felt authentic. 

I've always wanted to do a commercial, or at least be a part of a commercial and do a bit of "acting." This felt like the perfect lineup. Fritos, to me, is a timeless classic brand that will be here [until] the end of time. They had been gone for so long, almost 90 years. To get to do this with them was really an honor on my part. I'm still kicking myself that I got to do it!

What is your favorite way to eat Fritos?

I still, because of my grandparents, I love to crumble up the original ... and put them on top of chili, but I love the Fritos Scoops as well, with salsa. If I had a go-to, it'd be the honey barbecue twists. Anytime I'm traveling for a long period of time, that is a gas station essential, or a grocery store essential. Those would be my favorite ways to eat them, for sure.

Why the new Fritos tagline matches Thomas Rhett's own personal motto

The Fritos new tagline is "Down for everything." You've said you partnered with Fritos because you're "down for everything that's good and true." What do you mean by that?

I think with me and my family, we, in a roundabout way, are down for pretty much everything. We have lived by the motto of the adventurous spirit. Especially ever since my wife and I had kids, but even before that, my wife broke me out of my shell very early on. I never, in a million years, would've skydived if it weren't for my wife being like, "We're doing this," and we did. Scuba diving, fly fishing. We love to go and we love to do that outside. That's where I find peace and solitude is being outdoors, whether it's in the woods or on a river, or on the ocean, or the lake or whatever that is.

This campaign really related to the kind of lifestyle that I like to live. You've seen the commercial, the majority of it is shot outdoors except for one scene in a grocery store. It all lined up with me, very true. "Down for everything" would be a motto of mine, for sure.

This is what surprised Thomas Rhett about producing a TV commercial

What was it like to shoot the Fritos commercial?

I've done bits of, I guess you could call it acting. I think doing it with someone who knew what they were doing was a savior for me, because I thought, "How hard could it be to say two lines and look at the camera?" Understanding how to properly hold a bag of chips, or how to properly eat one or how to properly scoop — I didn't know that there was that much that went into it. Not only was it a blast, but it was a really big learning process for me, too.

We shot the commercial for two straight days and two days turned into a 30-second clip. I was like, "Wow, 20 hours of footage turns into a 30 second clip!" Now, looking back at it, you have to have all that stuff to be able to have options for the editors to be able to really hone in on what the great takes were and what the great pieces were. [I'm] mind-blown, honestly, at how much went into making a spot like this. I thank Fritos for trusting me with that because I think it turned out really cool.

You mentioned that you learned the right way to hold a Fritos. What is the right way, and what is the wrong way?

Simply, don't cover up the logo, you know what I mean? If I'm handed a bag of chips, I would grab it how I normally would, but [it's about] placement on the body. Don't hold it too close to your face. Don't hold it too low. Hold it just right to where it's center of frame. Putting the chip in your mouth, you don't want to look like you haven't eaten in five days. You want to eat it and be like, "Yeah, this is good." 

They had a chip pro, like a bag pro.  When they would put all the Fritos on the shelf, he would go through and straighten out every one of the bags and make every one look pristine. I was like, "Man, I had no clue that all of this went into that," but when you get to watch the final product, you're like, "Wow, everything looks perfect. It heightens the brand and it makes everything look incredible," which it is. It's how much hard work goes into it that is pretty mind blowing.

Thomas Rhett shares what it's like to be a dad of four small kids

You have four kids, including a baby. Has that changed the way you eat?

Most of my eating is on the go these days. When I wake up in the mornings to make the kid's lunches – I wouldn't do this — my wife loves to take cookie cutters. If I make a turkey sandwich, or a peanut butter sandwich, we'll stamp the sandwich with a heart or a rainbow. I find myself crushing the outer areas of the sandwich at six o'clock in the morning, or finding a bag of gummies that have been left in my truck for six weeks. I'm like, "Oh, I'll eat that today." I do my best to eat good and clean, but there are definitely times where I'm trying to get something on the go.

What's been the craziest experience that you and Lauren have had since you added your fourth kid to your home?

Goodness gracious — when all four kids, including me and Lauren, have been all sick at the same time with different things. One's got a stomach virus, or one's got a cough, and one's got a fever. It is like, because you don't want any of your family to come over and help because you don't want anyone else to get sick, you're like, "I don't want to get off the couch right now," but everyone needs something from me or something from Lauren. When everyone's sick, it's survival mode at that point. That would be the craziest bit of parenting for us, for sure.

Thomas Rhett's go-to fast food and his greatest accomplishment

Do you have a favorite fast food restaurant?

I'm a sucker for Taco Bell.

If you could have anyone cook dinner for you, who would it be and why?

I would love if Mick Jagger came to the house and brought over some wine and cooked whatever he felt was what his favorite was. My dad's a diehard Rolling Stones fan. I am too. I've always wanted to be Mick Jagger. I will never be Mick Jagger, but if I could eat with anyone, it would definitely be him.

You've had so many accomplishments, with 18 platinum number one hits and 12 million streams of your music, not to mention all of the Grammy nominations. Is there one particular accomplishment that you're most proud of?

Last year, winning [Male Artist] of the Year at the ACMs was probably the biggest pivotal moment for me because I take such pride in the way that our shows are presented on the road. I take pride in how hard me and the band work. Some would say we work too hard on our show and overthink it, but I do think that excellence come from being a detail freak. That is something that I am when it comes to music and shows. When you're given that award, it shows that your hard work was seen by a lot of people and a lot of people thought that it was great. For me, that's been the coolest thing that I've got to do, for sure.

Are you excited about the Academy of Country Music Awards on March 7?

Yeah, out in Vegas! I'm super pumped. My wife and I always love getting to go to Vegas, and experience the Vegas lifestyle. To get to do it at the football stadium this year is going to be really different and really special at the same time.

Watch Thomas Rhett star in the new Fritos commercial on YouTube. For more information about Thomas Rhett's new album, visit his website or follow him on Instagram.