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Food for thought: marketing lessons from Walkers crisps

Food for thought: marketing lessons from Walkers crisps

Posted 13th July, 2020 by Sarah

There can be no doubt that crisps are one of the nation’s favourite snacks. Whether it’s ready salted, prawn cocktail or salt and vinegar, everyone has their own personal favourite. What appeals to you, doesn’t necessarily appeal to someone else and vice versa.

The same could be said about marketing. Messaging that relates to one person’s pain point may not have any relevance to another, meaning that campaigns that catch the attention of some, will be completely ignored by others.

So, what can marketers learn from the marketing of crisps? Let’s take a look…

Hearts, minds and taste buds

In 2008, Walkers crisps launched a tasty campaign aimed at generating excitement with their customers and involving them in developing new flavours.

The ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign put customers at the heart of the product development process, inviting them to submit new flavour ideas and ultimately invent a new crisp flavour. And, it did just that, with flavours such as Fish and Chips, Onion Bhaji, Chilli and Chocolate and Cajun Squirrel making the shortlist.

An expert panel selected six finalists to produce and launch the crisps. The nation then voted for their favourite flavour and the winner was given £50,000 and a 1 per cent share of the profits.

Crunching the numbers

The campaign proved to be a massive success, with more than one million people taking part in the competition, which was eventually won by the Builder’s Breakfast flavour, with Onion Bhaji finishing in second place.

The campaign out-performed year-on-year sales growth by 68 per cent and Walkers also achieved its highest value market share for three years. Not to mention the high levels of consumer engagement, increase in brand awareness and 4.3 million visits to walkers.co.uk.

The ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign was so successful it was relaunched in 2014.

So, what can be learnt from this tasteful campaign?

Crisp, clear messaging

‘Do us a flavour’ - it says it all.

The messaging is crisp, clear and to the point, whilst cleverly playing on the notion of doing them a favour. The tone is playful, fun and engaging. It encourages participation, whilst not taking itself too seriously.

This is something that marketers can learn from. Overly complicated messaging can sometimes turn-off your target audience, so try to keep your campaign messaging to the point and as impactful as possible.

Find your flavour

People feel strongly about their own opinions and ideas, and, as this campaign proved, their crisps!

The campaign played on people’s passions and used them to elevate this campaign to new heights. It started a debate. It got people talking about their product. So, think about how you could utilise the power of word-of-mouth and generate a buzz around your product.

Think outside the box

Walkers were brave enough to try something new and think outside the box. The campaign is clever as it values the opinion of its customers – the people who ultimately consume the product.

The campaign opened up the process of product development to the customer. People like to feel involved, and finding opportunities to involve your target audience is a great way to deliver the products that people want, as well as gathering campaign momentum.

Be creative and have some fun

In the 2014 campaign relaunch, Walkers got even more creative with ways to engage their audience.

To get the public involved, they found innovative ways to get people talking on social media. Walkers even put Gary Lineker inside a Twitter vending machine, as part of the ‘Tweet to Eat’ element of the campaign.

People would then tweet about the campaign in order to receive a free packet of crisps.

It was creative, fun and playful. Don’t be afraid to have some fun once in a while and find surprising ways to market your product.

Variety is the spice of life

Walkers utilised a variety of marketing channels and techniques throughout the campaign. Their 360-degree marketing plan revolved around driving people to their website to submit their suggestions and vote.

They didn’t just stick to one channel, they reached out to their audience across various mediums.

It’s important to remember that just because you have a website, it doesn’t mean people will know about it. Utilise different marketing channels and methods to raise awareness of your brand and your products.

Food for thought

The ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign is a fantastic example of user generated content and including your customers in the development of a product.

We hope you found some marketing inspiration.

Whilst we’re on the topic of crisps, let us know your dream crisp combination in the comments below or on social media.

Categories: Marketing, Small Businesses

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