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.
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