In July of 2012 in celebration of their 75th anniversary, Frito-Lay’s introduced their “Do Us A Flavor” campaign in the United States as an approach to revamp and “age down” their image. The contest emerged through PepsiCo, the parent company of Lay’s in order to engage the public in getting involved through social media to fulfill their goals of creating a stronger relationship with millenials. They launched the campaign with a pop-up store in Times Square so consumers were able to try the 22 available flavors that Lays has produced. Originally a contest started in the United Kingdom, Lay’s brought the contest to the U.S. with a hope that their decline in sales would be reversed. They wanted to give their consumers an opportunity to share their ideas through a social-media based platform. And that is when the social-phenomenon was born.
Lay’s wanted to appeal to consumers ranging from 18-24 because of their growing desires to use social media. The premise of this campaign was to let the audience decide the next popular potato chip flavor for the company. Submissions were strictly accepted through social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as through their website. A Facebook app was created so it would be easier for millenials to submit their created flavor. Contestants were to pitch their idea using a photo, name, ingredients, and caption and explain why their chip would be successful. There was even a flavor generator which was based off a person’s food preferences called the “Flavorizer.” These processes were creative and easy to submit to give everyone a chance to share their ideas, which is why this was one of the well-known and best campaigns on social media.
By putting the power in the hands of the audience, it shows that Lays is confident that their consumer’s ideas are trustworthy and would benefit their company. Due to the high demand and increased usage of social media, it was a key component in expanding the relationships with the brand and target audience.
While the power was put into the hands of the consumers and social media platforms, another way Lays attracted the attention of their target audience was through notable celebrities. Eva Longoria, Nick Lachey, and Michael Symon, just to name a few, played a major role in attracting more consumers to participate in the contest. A judging panel was created, including celebrities and Frito-Lay’s culinary experts that narrowed down the three flavors. After choosing the three final flavors, the decision was in the hands of the fans by online voting. The company is proud how they executed the competition, mostly because they made an impact using the two things that this generation loves the most: food and social media. The chief marketer, Mukherjee stated that “This wasn’t about Lays. We created tools that allowed people to celebrate their passion for food. Lays became a communication device for people to share about their daily lives.”
The 2012 campaign was the most successful campaign Lay’s had produced. The 10-month campaign, hoping to receive 1.2 million submissions, received 3.8 million. The winner of the 1 million and best chip flavor was awarded to Karen Weber-Mendham, a Wisconsin librarian who submitted “Cheesy Garlic Bread.” Lay’s Facebook fans rose to 1.2 million and the PTAT, the measurement of the amount of people talking about Lay’s increased to by 4700%. Year-on-year sales during the campaign increased by 12% In return, Lay’s also learned of new consumer insights such as the fact that out of the 3.8 million submissions, just under 100,000 of them included the color red in their flavor names. The color beige seemed to be extremely unpopular in that it was only included in 3 submissions.
In conclusion, Lay’s truly attained their goal by creating a stronger relationship with their target audience. Not only did their efforts benefit their brand, but most importantly gained interest and attraction from their consumers.