Many people young and old cannot resist a bag of chips, one of the most easily available snack foods, and Lay’s is one of the most popular and top selling brands in the U.S. and worldwide. Lay’s potato chips comes in a variety of flavors, many of them suggested by winners of the brand’s campaign called, “Do Us a Flavor.”
Lay’s is one of the best-selling products under PepsiCo, a company that was formed by the merger of Pepsi and Frito-Lay in 1965. Lay’s is the name of the brand as well as the company, named after the original creator of the product, Herman Lay. The name was retained after Lay’s was acquired by Fritos, forming the Frito-Lay company.
The company’s main brand is Lay’s. However, in some markets, it is sold under different brand names, such as:
· Argentina – Frenchitas
· Mexico – Sabritas
· Colombia – Margarita
· Israel – Tapuchips
· Egypt – Chipsy
· Australia – Smith’s
· Ireland and the UK – Walkers
· Vietnam – Poca
International Market Adaptation
Lay’s international market expansion makes for a very interesting story. The strategies of many brands that decided to go global often include translating the original version of their products. The uninformed belief comes from the idea that foreign markets are still ”hungry” for products from the United States, which does not give them enough ideas to develop their products for the international market. Lay’s, on the other hand, believes in adapting its products to the tastes of local consumers.
Localization is one of the things that help many foreign brands, including Lay’s. When the company relies on forward-thinking and innovative marketing teams, it can equate to product success.
Lay’s International Marketing Strategies
The company has been doing innovative things from the beginning. Its TV advertising campaign was the first for a snack food product.
Out of the many strategies of Lay’s, one that works very well for an international brand is market segmentation, positioning and targeting. The brand’s marketing team divided the market according to age, behavior, income and location.
The brand has identified its primary market, targeting the young and the youthful, a market segment with heavy consumers of the product. However, their product targeting also includes providing versions of the product for adults and those who are conscious of their calorie intake.
For their positioning strategy, Lay’s made its various flavors of potato chips accessible every where. That strategy went with their marketing thrust that the product is a snack that can be consumed any time of the day. Likewise, Lay’s used well-known brand supporters and ambassadors.
Lay’s initially focused on the taste and quality of its ingredients, instead of the satisfaction it can offer its customers. The company later repositioned the brand as something that makes consumers smile, one that allows the consumer to find enjoyment even in small moments.
Lay’s enjoys a competitive edge, riding on the very strong presence of PepsiCo worldwide. PepsiCo is present in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, North America, South America and Europe. Likewise, Lay’s rides on the huge distribution network of PepsiCo. Having PepsiCo as its parent company has given Lay’s many advantages, especially in terms of capital investments. It is an essential element in the capability of Lay’s for product branding and advertising.
The brand is also important to PepsiCo as it helps increase the revenue of its snack division to support the other divisions whose sales are lowered.
Focus on Consumer Enjoyment
Lay’s is not a premium brand but it’s one that enjoys high demand every day. With its distribution strategy, it is available in as many retail outlets as possible. It is available in malls, vending machines, gas stations, supermarkets, groceries and small stores, often in conjunction with other products of PepsiCo.
Aside from the good relationships the parent company have with retailers, Lay’s continues to focus in catering to customers’ small joyful moments and creatively created various activities and advertising campaigns around it.
According to the company, the current mission of Lay’s is to be the favorite snack around the world that is available anytime, anywhere.
It’s very active in following trends and adapting to customers’ tastes. In fact, the brand is renowned for its different flavors that suit different cultures and varied tastes.
It’s currently focused on millennial consumers, providing them with content that can become conversational topics on their own page on Facebook. The introduction of creative flavors has increased the sales of Lay’s potato chips around the world.
Since 2012, Frito-Lay has launched the “Do Us a Flavor” campaign for Lay’s potato chips. Within a 12-week period participants can propose their favorite flavors through the brand’s Facebook page. At the end of the submission period, three flavors are selected, which will be produced and made available in stores, so that consumers can vote for the best tasting one. The winner will be one million dollars richer once the verdict is reached.
From having just the “Classic” and “Barbecue” flavors as the initial flavors of Lay’s potato chips, the “Do Us a Flavor” campaign of Lay’s through the years has given the brand several new flavors, some of which are available only in specific territories.
In 2013, the contenders in the U.S. were Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken and Waffles and Sriracha. The Cheesy Garlic Bread was the final choice although the other two flavors were also sold in some regions in the United States.
In 2014, the selected flavors were Cappuccino, Wavy Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger. The latter became the winning flavor.
For 2015, the Southern Biscuits & Gravy flavor won. The contenders were Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben and Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro.
In 2016, the finalists were Indian Tikka Masala, Brazilian Picanha, Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken. The following year, Fried Green Tomato, Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper and Crispy Taco were introduced. The campaign was also run in Canada.
Aside from the contest winners, Lay’s also introduced various flavors for its international consumers, such as Spanish Tomato, Chile Lemon and French Salt and Cracked Pepper.
Among its worldwide markets, the Netherlands has the most number of flavors. Some of the markets have limited flavors while other markets have their own unique flavors that are available for domestic consumers only.
Some of these include Magic Masala for India and Japanese Nori Seaweed for the Japanese market. Some have gourmet flavors, such as Mornay Shrimp, Beijing Roasted Duck, Salmon Teriyaki, Manhattan Steak, Grilled Chicken Paprika, Spicy Chili Squid, Creamy Forest Mushroom, Red Caviar and more.
The Chinese market has its own set of different flavors as well. In China you can buy a variety of flavors as mild as Cucumber and as hot as Sichuan Hot Pot. You’ll also get flavors such as Cherry Blossoms, Durian, Macha, Lime, Cherry Tomato, Kiwi and even Blueberry. There are flavors that resemble different Chinese cuisine, such as Hot & Sour Fish Soup and Numb & Spicy Hot Pot. It has also introduced a new line of flavors called the Pepsi Cola Chicken Flavored chips.
From introducing unique flavors for its potato chips, the company also ran several promotions aimed at local markets. For example, in the Lay’s Local campaign in India, it featured 80 potato farms across India. It’s a strategy to build affinity to the brand among Indian consumers.
It has not forgotten about packaging, ensuring that it’s moving with the times. The new logo of Lay’s emulates a ”smiley” emoticon, in line with its campaign to create a smile on the faces of its consumers. Alongside the new packaging and logo changes, Lay’s supports ”Operation Smile” using Jordin Sparks as the ambassador for the brand.
The brand finds and utilizes all available avenues for product visibility. The redesigning of the logo, typography, colors and packing are steps to ensure that the brand is visible everywhere, from retail outlets, traditional media, strategic partnerships and social media. The new look expresses the brand’s approachability and its values – quality, trust uniqueness and brightness.
With its aggressive marketing strategies and market knowledge, backed by the unfailing support from a high-grossing international company, Lay’s has proven that it is a global brand that oozes with ”local” appeal.
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