Lay’s asks Canucks for a flavour

The brand is bringing its "Do Us a Flavour" contest to the market, inviting consumers to generate ideas for a new chip flavour and promoting it with a TV, radio and online buy.

Following a teaser announcement about an “exciting and new interactive program” late last week, Lay’s and its newest spokesperson, Martin Short revealed a contest inviting consumers to submit their ideas for a new chip flavour in a spot during the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

The brand will be using television, digital, radio and in-store platforms to invite Canadians to submit their chip concoction to its Facebook page for the chance to have it put on shelves as well as win cash prizes. The media buy for the “Do Us a Flavour” contest was handled by OMD, while Proximity developed the digital component and BBDO spearheaded creative on the TV, radio and online spots. In addition, the brand has enlisted SDI Marketing to launch outdoor events in Toronto and Vancouver (March 2 and Feb. 16, respectively) with kiosks for people to submit their flavour ideas.

“It’s a broad-reaching buy,” Jason McDonell, VP marketing, PepsiCo Foods Canada, tells MiC, noting the brand is not looking to target a specific demographic but rather “adults who are passionate about flavours.” He also says this is a “major investment” for the Lay’s brand as it runs throughout 2013 and is “a focal point of the entire year for the Lay’s brand. It’s a full-year commitment to allow Canadians to celebrate their passion for flavours.”

Once the top four flavours are chosen following the April 15 closing date, the brand will go into production, creating the chips to be placed on shelves for consumers to taste and vote (on Facebook or via text) for their preferred chip flavour. The four finalists will be rewarded with $5,000 each, and the person with the most votes for their chip will be rewarded with a $50,000 grand prize (as well as 1% of the chip sales accumulated from mid-November until it’s no longer in market).

The flavour gallery on the brand’s Facebook page reveals classic Canadian submissions so far, such as Early Maple, Poutine and Bacon Caesar, among the thousands of ideas the page has tracked so far. “Just an hour after the Super Bowl, we received well over 1,500 submissions,” says Susan Irving, director of marketing, PepsiCo Foods Canada, of the contest that first launched in the UK nearly five years ago. It has since launched in 15 other markets, including the US where the winner will be revealed this summer. “[Canada] has such an array of ethnicities and diverse tastes, so we decided to adapt this for the market.”

“From a potato chip standpoint, flavour [in Canada, compared to other parts of the world] is over-developed in terms of the sales percentage,” adds McDonell. “Instead of the favourite just being regular or classic flavour potato chip, the majority of sales in Canada are predominantly from our flavoured portfolio, and that would be the barbeque, ketchup and dill. So we felt that it was a logical step to let Canadians celebrate their passions for flavour.”