Aishwarya Ramesh

Who will consume Lay's’ ‘papad’ chips?

Potato chips over the years have had many avatars. They’re icebreakers between friends, they’re the go-to snack to munch on while watching sports, and they’re great accompaniments for beverages and at parties. But Lays, in its newest TVC, turns this positioning on its head, and suggests that it can be an accompaniment for home-cooked food.

As a part of this campaign, Lay’s has released a new TVC for Lay’s Wafer Style chips – a new product that has been launched at the back of extensive consumer research and insights. Lay’s Wafer Style is available in ‘Salt with Pepper’ and ‘Sundried Chilli’ flavours.

The two newly introduced flavours for South Indian markets
The two newly introduced flavours for South Indian markets

Taking cue from the traditional hand-made and home-dried pappadams that lend a crunchy texture to every traditional South Indian meal, Lay’s has launched Lay’s Wafer Style to tap into a ritual that is unique to this part of the country. While consumers can enjoy the crunch of the chips at any time of the day, the new offering is being positioned by the brand as the ideal meal accompaniment for traditional South Indian dishes, including the likes of Sambhar Rice, Rasam Rice, Dal Rice, Curd Rice, Lemon Rice, Palak Pappu Rice, and more.

Sharing his thoughts, Dilen Gandhi, senior director, marketing – foods category, PepsiCo India, said, “We at PepsiCo recognise that there is an opportunity to dial up relevance in snacks in South India. The launch of new Lay’s Wafer Style is in line with our regionalisation strategy and we are committed to offer to the consumers relevant flavours and textures inspired by hyper-local offerings from across all regions of the country.”

He added, “South is an extremely significant market for us, and our insights show that chips and pappadams have a huge demand in the South as consumers enjoy them with their traditional meals."

”This is the insight that the video plays on as well. In the ad, the protagonist shows undue enthusiasm at the thought of eating sambhar rice for lunch and it is later revealed that these chips are the reason why," says Gandhi.

Talking about the film, Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, Wunderman Thompson India, remarked, “Our new Lay’s South TVC code named ‘Amma Mia’, is a light-hearted take on the fact that while youngsters seek variety in their meals, most moms stick to the tried and tested options when it comes to home cooking. We decided to have some fun with the youngster’s over the top reactions for sambhar rice and his mom’s growing intrigue over the joy he displays for what is considered a boring regular meal. The actors, the music, the lyrics and the location help build in South codes in every frame”.

Sridhar Ramanathan, innovation consultant and brand coach at IDEAS-RS believes that this is a good effort by Lays to enter the South market. We asked him how it works to position chips in the place of papad, at meal time and he pointed out that chips are ready to consume, while “with Papad, you still need to take efforts to roast it and then consume it. Most of the time, while eating, you just want an accompaniment to go with your food - it’s either banana chips or these kinds of chips. That makes South India a strong market for these chips since the consumption habit already exists,” he tells us.

Sridhar Ramanathan
Sridhar Ramanathan

Sridhar points out that its likely to be consumed by younger people and also emphasized that chips go extremely well with traditional south Indian food. “I’ve seen youngsters even crush chips and put it on top of their food and eating it, I’ve also seen it being crushed and added to raita and curd rice as well... They’ve found their own unique ways of consuming this. I’ve even seen this being done in 5-star hotels and at wedding feasts…” he states. He also points out that chips and papad are consumed since in South India, consumption of vegetables, is relatively low.

Why not yam or banana chips? Why stick with potato chips? “It’s the easy way out for brands. They’re doing this to find their way into the household for consumption. Lays is looking for mass consumption, and regretfully, they seem to be succeeding at it. Sunrise Filter Coffee is very South Indian in flavour, on the face of the brand. In Lays’ case, the TVC shows the consumption taking place in the South Indian household and that’s about it…”

Adman KS Chakravarthy, co-founder of Tidal7 Brand & Digital admits that he himself is someone who cannot eat food without something crunchy on the side and believes it's a wise move for Lays to attempt a foray into the South market because, in his words, ‘they have nothing to lose.’ He further explained that no other player will get into this segment and that in South’s market, the new positioning makes sense because the consumption already exists.

KS Chakravarthy
KS Chakravarthy

“Seems to me they’re running out of flavours. They’ve already gotten all kinds of exotic and international flavours and now they’re trying to capture a new market… The new flavour is actually a lack of flavour. Chilli is about as simple and non-political as you can get, in terms of flavour.” he tells us.

Chax, as he is fondly called, also told us “they could be trying to sell this as a cool new way to eat something traditional. I think it’s an interesting stance. Not very sure how big the market is but they definitely have the equity to take a chance like this one...” he signs off.

Agency Credits:

Creative Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Vice President Associate Executive Creative Director - Amitav Misra

Senior Vice President & Executive Business Director - Ritu Nakra

Vice President Strategy- Arnab Chaudhuri

Account Executive- Shivangi Shubham

Production House - Chrome

Producer - Poonam Wahi

Director - Vijay Viramal