Lay's: Snacking excuse for the World Cup

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Published : January 16, 2015
The brand has brought out a fun campaign addressing the time mismatch during the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia.

An event once in four years is a big deal. And when it is the cricket World Cup - it is an even bigger deal. The forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup's only dampener is the timing, with the matches being played in Australia and New Zealand (ahead of Indian time by five and a half hours). But the official snack for the event, PepsiCo's Lay's, is out to shed some light on how to overcome this small hurdle.

Rajiv Mathrani

"While we were testing different types of concepts with the consumers, the one thing that was played back to us and we latched on to, was the fact that the matches are going to be played at odd timings from a viewership perspective. This was the top-of-mind context in the consumer's mind. This mismatch of timing was our opportunity to turn a problem on its head," explains Rajiv Mathrani, director & category marketing head-snacks, PepsiCo (India).

The film opens with various people sitting in a grid-like set up, cribbing about the timing of the World Cup. Through different visuals it shows different situations like employees stuck in office, bored college students and even a man stuck in the traffic. It is then that brand ambassador and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor enters and offers a solution by bribing others with a pack of Lay's. The video ends with a group of friends sitting together with Kapoor in front of a TV, while watching the match and munching on yet more Lay's.

Created by JWT, the campaign includes several TVCs, which will run from now till the end of March - when the tournament ends. The campaign, directed by Ravi Udyawar from RU Films features Ranbir Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur and Lisa Hayden. The theme track is penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya and composed by Dhruv Ghanekar of Wah Wah Music.

Special World Cup packaging for Lay's is on the anvil. Though the big idea will remain the same, there will be cricket lingo on the packs to connect better with the youth. The whole idea will be to bring the media communication to the shelf by translating the idea into ATL and BTL.

The brand will also carry contests on special packs where one lucky participant will get a chance to win an LED TV, every day. At the end, the grand prizewinner gets the chance to take four 'buddies' to the World Cup finals in New Zealand. This ties it back to the brand communication of spending the best of times with friends and Lay's.

Lay's is also betting on the social snacking nature of Indians for the upcoming season. While the way people snack between meals differs from market to market, Lay's prides itself in being a global brand with a local heart. Which is why, the communication is around a localised, or Indian, theme even though PepsiCo is a global sponsor for the event.

But how risky is it building a campaign solely on the proposition that you can watch your matches on time (by wriggling out of situations), while players in the DTH sector are trying to popularise the recording of Live TV? Is it not a dichotomy of sorts?

"Given today's media landscape which is changing drastically, there is a massive on-the-go viewership. From that perspective we have ensured that the campaign is visible across multiple touch points. But really what becomes very enjoyable in a game of cricket is when you sit around with your friends and enjoy the game versus watching it all alone," said Mathrani.

According to him it is challenging to come up with mega campaigns around sporting seasons. PepsiCo's strategy has not been to build one successful campaign and then sit around - it has now changed to finding an insight that is unique - feels Mathrani. At the same time, Lay's has the benefit of being a sponsor for the ICC Cricket World Cup, which makes it a differentiator. A second advantage is that of leadership in terms of owning the property and starting to advertise even before the start of the event. But while the strategy might be strong, does the creative impress?

Amit Sharma

Sambit Mohanty

According to Amit Sharma, co-owner and director, Chrome Pictures, "The only good thing about the ad is the combination of Ranbir Kapoor and Pankaj Kapur. While Pankaj's acting prowess is well known, Ranbir is also a strong actor. Their chemistry brings life to the film."

Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra North, feels differently. "In the hot pursuit of 'cool', this Lay's ad seems to have left the idea far behind. A mishmash of quick cuts and quicker moves by Ranbir, it left me dazed and confused about the intent of it all. And the biggest pity? To see Pankaj Kapur wasted in such an inane role," he complains.

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