Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” Promotion Takes Sampling in a Digital Direction

Lay’s Takes Sampling in a Digital Direction

It’s no secret that in-store sampling serves up sales. But with people trading in-store browsing for online buying, brands are looking for new ideas to push trying and buying. But now leave it to Lay’s to cook up a way to mix tasting with technology through their new promotion with Uber that made getting samples of chips just a quick click away. To promote their “Do Us a Flavor” contest, the Pepsi Co. potato chip brand used the UberRUSH courier service to bring picnic baskets filled with free chips to consumers who entered a special code when logging into the service. Each basket brimmed with the finalist flavors along with two sandwiches from Katz’s Deli, fruit, and two bottles of Pepsi’s Aquafina water. reported on how Lay’s was trying to lay the groundwork to take sampling in a digital direction.

This Uber promotion launched last week in New York City as a way for Lay’s to increase interest in its second annual “Do Us a Flavor” contest. It was only offered to a total of 200 Manhattan deliveries this past Friday and Saturday as a way to build buzz for the contest. Since this flavor contest will be Lay’s largest marketing promotion this year, they wanted to go all out to get the word out.

On Monday, the promotion was followed by another sampling strategy where Lay’s used branded pedicabs to deliver bags of the finalist flavors to consumers in select cities who requested the chips via the @Lays Twitter handle.

Lay’s sampling strategy also included using the #amazoncart program to let consumers add bags of the finalist flavors to their online Amazon shopping carts by using the hashtag on Twitter, along with a TV commercial to provide more traditional media support.

Lay’s launched the contest in January by encouraging consumers to submit suggestions for new flavors. The finalist flavors were selected and then sent to stores in July. The goal was for people to try the finalist flavors and then vote for their favorite on a special website, via text message, or under the hashtag #flavorRUSH on Twitter, Instagram, or Vine.

While Lay’s first flavor contest ran for a longer span between 2012 and 2013, marketers decided to condense this second contest to maintain consumer interest.

This shorter strategy seems to be working since Lay’s has already received 14.4 million flavor submissions this year, which is almost quadruple the 3.8 million entries collected in the first contest. But, of course, the true sign of success is the total number of sales for the new flavors.

And when it comes to selling new foods, sampling is the secret to sales because it increases awareness, trial, and purchase. And since shoppers are spending more time online that in-store, Lay’s leveraged this online obstacle to bring the product to the people through Uber.

“As more and more retail moves to e-commerce, [consumers] are not stepping into the stores,” said Ram Krishnan, senior-VP marketing for Frito-Lay North America. “So this is a way of touching and feeling and trying our products, which they wouldn’t have.”

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