There are some advertising campaigns that people will always remember – Nike’s “Just do it” slogan, Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke with” campaign.. I have the feeling that Walkers latest PR drive will be as memorable as these.
While studying CAM, I have started to become more aware of PR campaigns from many kinds of companies. I have started to see the meaning and reasoning behind some of ways they advertise products. A lot of the theory we study can be directly related to what is happening in these campaigns, from the message to the way it is showcased through design.
Putting its faith in the British public, Walkers Crisps asked people to “Choose me or lose me?” by voting for their favourite flavour in the campaign. Walkers have many classic flavours which people love, my favourite without doubt being the Prawn Cocktail.
Each of the classic British flavours is being challenged in the campaign by a new internationally inspired flavour. American Bacon and Cheddar challenges the popular Smoky Bacon, Spanish-inspired Paprika went against Prawn Cocktail and the classic Salt and vinegar versus lime and black pepper from Australia. The campaign attracted all the necessary attention that they set out to achieve. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were all targeted and people began to worry that their beloved crisp flavour may cease to exist soon. Short television adverts would flash up with the words “Choose me or lose me” to keep the campaign in the public eye without over playing it. Walkers did some simple research and chose the flavours up for choice because they were the more regularly bought variants in the UK and their own countries.
“The campaign is based on the importance of snacks to British consumers and the opportunity to have their say. (Thomas Barkholt; marketing director at PepsiCo)
“Our consumers feel passionately about their favourite Walkers flavours and we wanted to give them the opportunity to vote in regard to which flavours will be staying on shelves.
“We know consumers love our flavour campaigns and retailers benefit enormously from the buzz they generate. We are confident that by bringing back the voting element, this campaign will really capture consumers’ interest, stimulating demand and driving growth in the savoury snacks category.”
This was a great marketing style to use as it was very easy to spread the word about the product. People would happily share the “vote post” with their friends on social media platforms hoping that they too would vote. The simplicity of the idea behind it is so refreshing from a PR perspective. There would be so many people talking about it, and depending on what option they voted for determined if they talk was positive or negative!
The campaign ran from 14th August until the 22nd October.
BUY MORE CRISPS
An interesting aspect of this campaign was that the outcome would be determined 80% by the packs of crisps bought in store, and 20% by the online vote. This is possibly the type of information that they haven’t publicised all too well. Walkers is not in fact allowing democracy to have the final say, instead favouring the invisible hand of the market. The underlying message behind this whole campaign may well be “buy more crisps”. The more crisps that are sold, the happier the company. The simple fact that there was more publicity around Walker’s crisps should have in turn resulted in more people being swayed to buying their crisps.
The Walkers marketing team will be hoping that its latest PR trick fares better than the 2017 champions league final giveaway which invited football fans to send in photo of themselves which was then inserted into a video with one of their leading advert stars, Gary Lineker. Social media users responded only as social media users would, sharing videos of the Walkers lead man with images of people from the past who were surrounded by controversy. In my opinion the coverage this gained will have done the company no harm at all! As the saying goes, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”
They will however be hoping that this “Choose it or lose it” campaign will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Daniel Lewis is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted at: LinkedIn