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PepsiCo Frito-Lay asks Facebook favours for flavours

By Kacey Culliney , 24-Jul-2012
Last updated the 24-Jul-2012 at 12:01 GMT

How importance are consumer tastes?
How importance are consumer tastes?

Snack titan Frito-Lay will harness the power of social media engagement to gather recipes and taste insights from consumers and launch three new flavours of Lay’s crisps in early 2013 across the US.

Its Facebook campaign ‘Do us a Flavor’ asks consumers to submit flavour ideas for new Lay’s products and has previously been launched across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, running since 2008.

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay has launched the US campaign on its Lay’s Facebook page and rallied in the help of actress Eva Longoria and celebrity chef Michael Symon to create a buzz.

Matthew Incles, market intelligence manager at Leatherhead Food Research, described Facebook as an “incredibly powerful” marketing tool for brands.

It is accessible and companies can establish dialogue with their consumers, Incles said, but more importantly it generates a two-way conversation.

Dr Richard George, chair and professor of Food Marketing at the Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, described Facebook as “the digital version of the backyard fence or front porch in which customers share ideas and opinions”.

The activity and conversation on this social platform holds stronger than that promulgated by marketers, George said.

Social media and NPD

Recently our sister publication FoodNavigator-USA looked into the power of using social media in the new product development (NPD) process. See HERE . In an interview with US social media research firm Loudpixel, its co-founder and director of analytics Allie Siarto, said that a company Facebook page is suited to gathering a wealth of information.

Siarto said that information can range from details about potential customers right through to specific flavour or product requests.

She added that using social media to gather such information can be comparatively cheaper than traditional market research although added that a combination would probably be ideal.

Salam Amin, chief marketing officer at PepsiCo, said this campaign ignites consumer engagement at a passionate level.

Combined with brand loyalty, this is strong for business, Amin said.

“Every country in the world has its unique own culinary tastes. The ‘Do us a Flavor’ campaign actually required people to send us their flavour recipes. It required people to tell us what inspired them to make those flavours and those recipes,” Amin said.

Since PepsiCo launched its campaign in 2008, there has been an influx of more than eight million worldwide flavour submissions and a surge in global sales.

Consumers have prompted the launch of various novel flavours including Caesar Salad crisps, Chilli & Chocolate and Cajun Squirrel.

Following submissions, PepsiCo will develop three new flavours at the beginning of 2013 and launch the winning flavour in summer 2013 following a consumer voting process on the three finalist products.

The campaign is incentivized with monetary rewards for the winning flavour submissions. The finalist will snap up $1m or 1% of 2013 net sales for their product (whichever is highest) and the two runner-up consumers will receive $50,000.

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