Jun 14, 2013

CASE STUDY: How Pepsi & chicken-flavored Lay's potato chips were made tastier than they sound

The snack category is extremely cluttered in China, and any new product, even one as innovative as Lay’s Cola Chicken (a localised chip flavour), needs to do something special to stand out.

CASE STUDY: How Pepsi & chicken-flavored Lay's potato chips were made tastier than they sound


Traditionally, a significant portion of the snack market in the mainland is dominated by Chinese snacks, with potato chips a relatively new addition.

The campaign's target audience was young Chinese people from all walks of life living across China's large metropolitan areas. On one hand, Chinese youths are frequently accused of being self-absorbed and having a tendency for the hedonistic pursuit of entertainment. They spend long periods of time seeking to be entertained, such as by romantic dramas.

On the other hand, there is an increasing sense of social conscience among them. It is also true that they want to give to people less fortunate than themselves. This is not always easy in China, where charities are few and often difficult to trust.


Because Lay’s Cola Chicken was a flavour-innovation that married Pepsico’s two flagship brands: Pepsi and Lay’s, its campaign, the first of its kind, brought together the two brands in a single commercial during August 2012.

The feature of well-known celebrity ambassadors from each brand, Show Lo (羅志祥) and Huo Si Yan (霍思燕), created an element of surprise as viewers were not expecting to see both in the ad.

A teaser left viewers in suspense as the stars, who were romantically involved in the ad, had a falling-out with each other.

Viewers were then encouraged to exercise their creative sides online and write about how they imagined the story to unfold.

Other users voted on an universally-favourite outcome, which became the basis for the actual TV spot. 

At the same time, for every pack of Lay’s sold, RMB0.10 was donated to building libraries for impoverished children in rural China.

To maximize the campaign, the television channel was supported by online video sites and outdoor screens, as well as mobile.


40 million people participated in the plot development, exceeding targets by 53 per cent.

4.5 million posts about Lay’s Cola Chicken were shared on China’s microblog platforms.

As for commercial results, sales exceeded targets by more than 90 per cent, with more than 40 million packs of Lay’s Cola Chicken potato chips sold within the campaign period.

The campaign also succeded in raising (US$652,000) RMB4 million for building libraries for China's children.

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