Lay’s: Using Crunchy Sounds to Drive an E-Commerce Boom


Campaign Summary

Potato chips are largely an impulse buy, driven by in-store aisle promotions. However, as e-commerce has expanded rapidly across the country, fewer customers are going to grocery stores.

Thus, a challenge for Lay's was set: to increase impulse purchases in an era of e-commerce.


Objective and Context:

Consumers get a craving from seeing mouth-watering visuals or smelling fresh aromas. For potato chips, however, the most potent sensory signal is actually sound: the cracking, crunching, munching of crisp potato chips. Hearing other people munching on crisp potato chips makes people want some too.

Lay's needed to amplify this sound to its advantage. The challenge was determining exactly how.

Target Audience:

Traditional media has been on a decline among young people as they go more online for social media; according to China National Resident Survey, 97 percent of people go online for information. However, social media has been more cluttered as ad investments have ballooned (an estimated 36 percent in 2018 versus 2017, according to Statista).

Standing out and becoming a hit on social has become more demanding. How could Lay's make this contagious chip sound louder and more memorable, and drive people to impulse e-commerce purchases of Lay's?

Creative Strategy:

It's no surprise that humor is a big winner when it comes to the virality of social campaigns. Lay's contextualized the sound of chips around humorous and engaging contexts, essentially creating the auditory version of an infectious yawn.

The company created a funny Lay's challenge on China's top social challenge platform, Douyin. Douyin has been China's fastest growing mobile app, with 272.4 million users in 2018 September. People record and share short video clips in the app. They can pose challenges for others to follow — for example, people ask friends to lip-sync to popular songs.

Lay's sent out its challenge: make a funny lip-sync clip using a pre-made monologue that highlights the sound of potato chips.


Overall Campaign Execution:

This was Lay's first campaign to drive e-commerce with a contagious chip sound, not focused on product promotion. The company invited top comedians Papi Jiang and Jingting Bai to create their own Douyin video as a sample for fans. Twenty other key online influencers were also enlisted to give their own take and spread the crunchy sound of Lay's to their fans.

Fans all over China created and spread their own content. The humor and people's creative interpretations of the challenge quickly made the campaign spread. The challenge itself encouraged people to buy a pack of Lay's. More importantly, the omnipresent crunchy sound all over the app stimulated more people to buy a bag of potato chips right away.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The challenge went viral. More than 217,000 videos were posted, and the campaign performed 482 percent higher than its historical benchmark. Video views reached 1.08 billion, which was 433 percent higher than benchmark. Impressions were 511 million (reaching 116 percent versus target) while engagement (likes, comments, shares) totaled 42 million.

Categories: Mobile Video | Industries: Food, Beverage, Tobacco, Consumer Packaged Goods | Objectives: Mobile Video | Awards: X Gold Winner