Lays Canada Borrows Flavor Contest from U.S., but Adds Lucrative Twist


If you’ve always thought your taste buds were ahead of the curve, Lay’s Canada has the contest for you.

The potato chip giant’s “Do Us a Flavour” campaign is asking its customers to send in their own flavor ideas and dangling a rarely-seen carrot—profit sharing—to the winner. The top four flavor ideas will roll off the production line and on to store shelves this summer with the most popular one—as determined by voting on Facebook, of course—added permanently to the Lay’s line-up. The creators of the final four are guaranteed to receive $5,000 but the big winner will get a $50,000 check plus receive 1 percent of their flavor’s sales for as long as it remains sufficiently popular to cut the muster.

Hey, how about mustard chips?[more]

Of course, it’s likely that more than one person will come up with the idea for, say, dill pickle mayonaise ripple chips. To differentiate one from the other, each entrant will have to propose three ingredients as well as capture in 140 characters—the exact same length of a Tweet—how they came up with their particular recipe. “We know a lot of cool ideas will get repeated. We are judging on originality, creativity and potential for deliciousness,” Nina Patel, senior brand manager with Lay’s Canada told brandchannel.

Lay’s usually produces between seven and 11 flavors at any one time, including Barbecue, Salt & Vinegar, Ketchup and Dill. Entries can be submitted until April 15 with the fab four hitting the market on July 30. Votes will be tabulated via Facebook until Oct. 16 with the grand prize winner being announced shortly after. The three runner-up flavors, however, will be relegated to pop culture trivia status once the voting period has expired. The lastest contest development on Facebook? Apparently, the most requested flavor coming out of Quebec is bacon. 

When it came time to pick a spokesperson, there was very little debate when Martin Short, an acclaimed Hollywood veteran and, of course, a proud Canadian, was suggested.

“The nature of the program is all about creativity. When we thought about who would be the right face of the brand, we thought of Martin. He’s an iconic Canadian and he’s synonymous with creativity. He has added some comedic flair to the program and he’s the perfect fit to the Lay’s brand,” Patel said.

Lay’s has also been running a different “Do Us A Flavor” contest south of the border featuring actress Eva Longoria. This isn’t the first time its parent company, PepsiCo, has imported a promotion from the U.S. to Canada. A little more than a year ago, the Pepsi Refresh Project was launched in Canada to support social innovation and community projects for a 12-month period. It had more than $1 million at its disposal to provide grants to non-profits, businesses and individuals seeking funding for ideas designed to have a positive impact on their communities. The American version of PRP was launched in 2010 with the goal of awarding $20 million in grants.

Even the best intentions can go awry, however, as PRP was hit with a complaint in the U.S. from a group battling childhood cancer. The Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation was trying to win $250,000 when it said a group of 16 organizations, called the “Progressive Slate,” against which it was competing, were tied to the Democratic Party and thus violated the contest’s rules. Despite the controversy, Maureen Juniper, a Toronto-based spokeswoman said the results of the PRP were positive and PepsiCo was proud of it.

“The Pepsi brand has a long history of being at the center of culturally defining moments and the Pepsi Refresh Project is a great example of this. It was a forward-thinking program that resonated with consumers,” she told brandchannel.

Canada receives a combination of made-in-Canada marketing initiatives as well as campaigns that spill over the 49th parallel. “One thing that we’re very proud of in Canada is our long-standing commitment to marketing programs that speak to Canadian consumers, including a long-standing Quebec-specific campaign (targeting its largely French-speaking population), which has helped the Pepsi brand enjoy share leadership in Canada,” Juniper said.

Even with international efforts, such as the recently-launched “Live For Now” campaign, major markets are invited and encouraged to customize the global platforms to make them “relevant and engaging” for their local consumers. The new pop-culture-based campaign is in the process of being launched in Canada, a program that is “all about capturing the excitement of living in the moment and how Pepsi can act as a catalyst to help make everyday moments exciting.” Pop star Beyonce will serve as the brand ambassador as well as help develop new content and find innovative ways to engage fans, consumers and retailers, Juniper said.

If nothing else, PepsiCo knows what floats Canada’s boat. The Live For Now platform will come to life through partnerships with Hockey Canada and the Canadian Football League.

Game on, eh?