Lays “Do us a Flavour” – a global activation property

Interesting to see the Lays brand in the US rolling out the Do Us a Flavour activation, which started in the UK in 2008 on the Walkers brand. Note how it took our American cousins a full 5 years to adopt the idea. This campaign involves consumers submitting and then voting for their own flavour creations, with the winning flavour being launched.

Screen Shot 2012-07-31 at 17.59.58Now, regular readers will know that I'm a bit of a sceptic when it comes to cosumer interacivity. In most cases these types of promotions get very low response rates. So, what makes Do Us a Flavour better, with 250,000 entries in the UK alone, and now 8million+ worldwide?

1. Wow factor

Most contests that ask for consumer involvement offer pretty meagre prizes. But not Do Us a Flavour. In the UK event the winnner got £500,000 AND 1% of sales of the new flavour. This is compelling prize. It also cleverly encourages entrants to suggest tasty flavours, not stupid ones, as flavours that sell more will make more money for the winner.

2. Amplification

Lays amplifies the activation, helping it stand out and be dinstinctive, in several stages:

– Stage 1: is the request for recipes and voting

– Stage 2: the 3 leading flavours are launched in store

– Stage 3: the winning flavour is launched

In the US, some extra spice is added by having a celebrity chef and Desperate Houswives star Eva Longoria front up the campaign.

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3. Amplification online

 Do Us a Flavour started back in 2008 before Facebook was famous, and used the Walkers website. Clearly the idea can be even better executed today with social media. However, the one rather big negative is that when I tried to load the app, it seemed to crash. This may be because I am in the UK, not USA, although reports here suggest it may be to due to the amount of traffic.

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4. Global brand property

What I love most about Do Us a Flavour is how brand owner Pepsico has turned this into a global activation property, used in Europe, Asia, South America. See below for examples of the different local brands who have adopted the property.

I think this is one of only a handful of examples of beating the "not invented here" syndrome and getting this property executed locally. As Pepsico CMO Salman Amin explains here, the great thing about Do Us a Flavour is how each country can reflect local food culture in the contest.

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In conclusion, Lays/Pepsico have shown how to go beyond a bog standard promotion to create an activation property, by amplifying it over the marketing mix, and over time.