Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”
August of 2012 was a strange time in history. “Gangnam Style” topped the charts. A second ‘Expendables’ movie was released in theaters. Clint Eastwood yelled at a chair at the Republican National Convention. And Lay’s had just launched the first run of their “Do Us a Flavor” contest.
The contest asked consumers to submit their own ideas for potato chip flavors. You submitted a flavor along with a 100-word-or-less “inspiration,” so Lay’s could use that to distinguish one “Thai Basil” submission from another.
Lay’s contracted with The Marketing Arm to run the promotion, and TMA originally estimated 1.5 million submission over 10 weeks. They hit 500,000 after two. So I, along with a few others, were brought in to navigate spreadsheets of 10,000 submissions at a time, scouring for interesting submissions.
Lay’s ended up cutting off submissions after six weeks, but now we had to sort through every inspiration for “Cheesey Garlic Bread” or “Chicken and Waffles” to find the heartstring-plucking story that would win. With my journalism degree, I was asked to help edit the weekly submission briefs and helped write the post-contest feedback survey.