Ubaid Zargar

As Lay's' #SmileDekeDekho campaign sees round two...

Pepsico's Lay's had unveiled a digital campaign last year titled #SmileDekeDekho. The campaign saw 750 influencers participate and take customised Lay's packs to their social media handles. More recently, the campaign initiated round two, where a 1000 more influencers were brought on board to keep the the exercise going. Here is an overview.

PepsiCo India's Lay's has been at the helm of influencer marketing with its #SmileDekeDekho. What started off as a TVC featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, backed by a multitude of influencers carrying the campaign across social media avenues, the campaign has since seen a second phase take off.

Clocking about twenty thousand Instagram posts with #SmileWithLays embedded within the mentions, the campaign has had a peculiar trajectory in terms of its execution. The brand unveiled the #SmileDekeDekho campaign in October 2019, where nearly 750 influencers were brought on board to carry the campaign through. The influencers were provided with customised Lay's packs with influencers' smiles printed on the packaging.

This was then followed by a TVC that featured Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Titled 'Train Pe Tussle', the ad film showcased a brief bickering between the two characters in a train, which is eventually diffused by a 'smile'.

A month later, the brand unveiled another TVC featuring both the celebs again – this time on a bus. Sharing their packs of Lay's, the two characters in the ad film carried a more jovial and congenial vibe opposed to its prequel.

As the brand has revealed in the past, the TVCs were aimed at assisting the ongoing digital campaign with influencers and sponsored posts across digital avenues. We got in touch with the brand to understand the execution side of this campaign better. More importantly, how did the brand manage to get so many influencers to participate?

Speaking on the inception of the campaign, Dilen Gandhi, senior director and category head – Foods, Pepsico India, says, “The campaign stems from a simple insight: Lay’s brings a smile to one’s face. And smiles can lead to connections. Therefore, different flavors of Lay's can lead to different smiles, leading to different connections.”

He adds, “What makes the campaign unique is the fact that the entire idea comes to life through packaging – which is the first of its kind in India, as we have introduced limited-edition Lay's Smile packs, which feature six different smiles corresponding to the six different flavour variants. For example, the ‘Joyful’ Magic Masala smile is for real and unfiltered moments, while the ‘Simple’ Salted smile comes in handy to solve life’s complex problems.”

Commenting on the selection of influencers to carry the campaign forward, Gandhi says, “We reached out to more than 1750 macro and micro influencers across the country, after multiple rounds of selection and filtering to hand-pick the most relevant names to be a part of this milestone campaign. The influencers were selected based on the key passion points of Lay's target audience, including the travel, food, fashion and lifestyle genres, with the aim of ensuring maximum consumer connect.”

Just how many customised Lay's smile packs were there, we wondered. Gandhi answers, “We worked with more than 1750 influencers across a host of genres and cities for the Lay's Smile Deke Dekho campaign, wherein the brand shared exclusive hampers with customised Lay's smile packs – created after mapping each influencer's smile and matching it to our distinct flavour variant.”

In addition to the initial number of influencers who participated in the campaign, the brand initiated a second round of the campaign because, as the brand claims, there were hundreds of requests from influencers and consumers who wanted to be part of it. Gandhi says, “The resounding success resulted in us receiving hundreds of requests from influencers and consumers alike, wanting to be featured on the Lay's Smile pack. As a result of all this love and excitement, we initiated the second round of the campaign, where we worked with a massive set of 1000 influencers across India. The second leg is a completely organic effort and has touched 19.5 million impressions and 2.3 million engagement, and still counting.”

We have seen many other players in the market tweak their packaging in some form or another. To name a few, we've had Mentos try out its 'Complimentos', Cadbury with its special edition 'Madbury', among others. Digitally, these tactics have been at the helm of consumer engagement. To expound more upon this modern marketing trend, we reached out to industry experts to get their opinion.

Expert opinion:

Kunal Dubey, vice president & head of business, Dentsu India Slingshot

As Lay's' #SmileDekeDekho campaign sees round two...

In today’s world, digital platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, OTT etc with its massive reach has become the primary source of content consumption. Also, the reality today is that content is not restricted to one platform. A user is constantly moving from Hotstar to Instagram, to TikTok to InShorts within a span of few minutes. Indians are consuming content more than ever so for a brand to speak in one dimension across these platforms dilutes the message. It’s important for a brand to take different shapes and forms when interacting with their customers and fans. Community building is the name of the game and a strong and intimate community can be created when the brand is inclusive and approachable. Celebrities build aspiration, influencers drive conversation.

The attention span of today’s Indian internet user has dropped to anywhere between 6 and 8 seconds. Instagram has evolved from the scroll to the tap economy which means that a brand needs to constantly bring freshness to every consumer interaction touchpoint. Such is the nature of digital and social that the landscape is everchanging, hence it’s only logical and natural for a brand to constantly evolve. Brands to generate recall and awareness need to keep the interest alive – be it packaging, proposition, creative formats, media platforms etc.

The customer was never stupid. Today more than ever, thanks to general exposure to information, people are aware of what influencers are doing on social. If done wrong, it comes across as a gimmick, a hard sell, a lazy move on the brands side. Of course if done well, builds a strong loyalty and converts customers to fans.

Sreeraman Thiagarajan, co-founder, Agrahyah

As Lay's' #SmileDekeDekho campaign sees round two...

Commenting on the campaign's choice of celebrities versus influencers, Thiagarajan opines, "Celebrities are very much integral to this campaign, while influencers are used for amplification, unlike a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial where fan videos were part of the campaign alongside Beyonce. However, the effort is in line with today’s marketing trend, where vitality is induced by seeding content through people with high following on social media."

Speaking about the role of influencers in modern marketing, Thiagarajan suggests, "Influencers, by definition, must have the ability to shape opinions. Garnering eyeballs to an ad video through seeding is an alternative way of media campaign. If it eventually turns into a pop culture reference, then that’s an ultimate win."

Pointing out the necessity of proper content in the light of technology, Sreeraman reckons, "Technology in marketing is mostly behind the scenes, like having a data lake and siphoning insights to send right message to right customer at the right time. In advertising, technology takes a backseat, the content and story is what matters. If it didn’t, Lays wouldn’t have had to rope in Ranbir & Alia."