Do Me a Flavor and Read this!

What do Greektown Gyro, New York Reuben, Southern Biscuits & Gravy, and Wasabi Ginger all have in common? No, they aren’t must try options at the hottest food truck in town. These are flavors of chips promoted by Lay’s during their “Do Us a Flavor” campaign. This campaign takes customer engagement to a new level by having you (the customer) submit ideas for new chip flavors and then letting you vote to see which one stays on the shelves. The customer with the winning flavor gets either a million dollars or one percent of their chip’s net sales. lays

Much like Nabisco is constantly releasing new flavors  of Oreos (I mean really, peppermint?) Lay’s is trying to do the same thing with their chips. By allowing customers to vote on which chips stay and go, customers are encouraged to try all of them and then vote. This year to commemorate the 2016 Summer Olympics Lay’s rebranded the contest as the “Passport to Flavor”. While I have no problem with Lay’s changing the name, I do have a problem with Lay’s getting rid of the main piece of customer engagement involved with this now annual event. No longer are the flavor ideas customer submitted but instead they are “cooked” up in the Lay’s corporate kitchen. With flavors like Brazilian Picanha, Greek Tzatziki, Indian Tikka Masala, and Chinese Szechuan Chicken, Lay’s does a great job of picking diverse global markets each with their own distinctive food. However, Lay’s also removed the voting process to decide which flavors stay on store shelves and instead have now switched to a game where you must collect four different stamps for each country involved. Once you collect each stamp you win a travel package. While this is a great idea and will certainly increase sales, it greatly reduces the level of customer engagement involved. I for one am hoping for this years contest to be only a one year deal and for next year Lay’s will allow customers to “Do Them a Flavor” again. Either way the variety of flavors and the chance to win a trip will keep customers returning to the chip aisle to try them all!

Images retrieved from: ExtraTV

-Doug Bell ’16


10 thoughts on “Do Me a Flavor and Read this!

  1. I think Lays created an incredibly clever marketing strategy with their “Do Us a Flavor” Campaign. Not only do consumers purchase the chips out of curiosity for the obscure flavors, but they also purchase them to reminisce about past experiences and compare the flavors to their favorite foods. I completely fell victim to this plot, along with my two friends with whom I studied abroad with in Greece this past summer. When we saw the Tzaztiki flavored chips we knew we had to try them for it had become one of our staple foods and reminded us of our time abroad. None of us purchase chips on a regular basis, but their campaign brought in a new audience and their wallets as well.

  2. It really stinks that Lay’s stopped allowing customers to vote on what flavors stay in stores. The decline in direct customer engagement will hurt them. People won’t pay as much attention to the passport to flavor program they are trying to implement. They will just care about whether their favorite obscure type of potato chip is staying on the shelves or leaving forever.

  3. Lay’s has been around a long time. I can only presume as far as their popularity and market share reflect, they are doing something right in the potato chip world. As far as their new advertising campaign, it’s a no lose strategy. Involving people by allegedly not knowing which particular new flavor is going receive the most votes is a complete misnomer. I can surmise Lay’s has conducted numerous field testing events for their new flavors across different markets in the U.S. and probably Canada to determine which new product will be likely the most successful. As far as which particular product stays on our shelves is based on sales; not so much what we may like personally. That luxury belongs to which flavor sells the best.

    If it doesn’t sell, millions of unsold flavors are headed to our local dollar stores. Either way, Lay’s strategy worked, sell unsold chips at cost to dollar stores and subsequently the public is made aware of Lay’s has a new product line. Voila, the Lay’s brand is seen as relevant by not resting on their past and present laurels Heck, are we not talking about their new flavors right now? Unique marketing strategies is what keeps the successful, successful. Ironically, with the exception of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Chips, I can’t think of a new flavor/style that has actually endured the test of time. Maybe, we as Americans can be a bit of traditionalist when it comes to our potato chips?

  4. Your title definitely captured my attention but the content of the post kept me reading! I really wish I had suggested a flavor, a million dollars sounds great right about now.

  5. This was a really interesting and creative read! Your writing was also very smooth and made it easy to read and grasp the information.I saw these chip flavors recently but just assumed it was the “Do us a flavor” contest again. I thought this contest was a great idea, but all great things must come to an end. They have done it for a few years now, I guess their involvement dropped and they decided to go into another direction.

  6. I do agree with your post. However maybe Lays chip’s noticed there was not a sufficient amount of participation for the “do me a flavor”. Then their CEOs and marketing team decided this is the best way to make everyone happy. They can encompass the global market and allow for all cultures to enjoy Lay’s chips. Instead of deciding to eat Pringles or Sun Chips. I do not believe they will go back to the other slogan “do me a flavor”. They may change the slogan now to something new next year though.

  7. I agree it was a strange decision to take away the voting process. When the number one thing a brand wants from its customers (other than their money) is engagement it seems like a poor decision on their part to go from a system that encourages direct customer engagement with the brand in favor of something that is less interactive. It makes me wonder if the voting system was causing some sort of problem for Lays. Maybe it just was not as successful as they had anticipated.

  8. Doug, first of all, great title! It grabbed my attention right away. This article is one of the best I have seen in a while. Such an interesting topic to write about and overall just a great post. I’ll have to try all of these chips out for sure now!

  9. Taking the customer out of the whole process does seem a bit detrimental to the whole thing. I used to love the “Do Us a Flavor” campaign and would vote frequently. But with the new process and flavors (none of which I care for) it just seems like the company doesn’t care about the consumer and wants to try something new and edgy that really isn’t that interesting.

  10. I agree with the whole voting process being more enjoyable than these new diverse flavors. People coming up with flavors lends a promotional aspect by getting content and conversation in general about the flavors people come up with, generating buzz in everyday settings. This seems to be one of the advantages of these types of advertising campaigns. Including the consumer in company decision making, really improves the consumer experience I think. I agree that removing the voting process was a poor decision on the Lay’s brand part.

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