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Happiness is Simple
with Lay's

SILVER :: Canadian Success Outside Canada
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OVERVIEW: An iconic US brand turns its business around.

SITUATION ANALYSIS: At several billion dollars in sales, Lay's Chips is the biggest food brand in the United States. But sales had been declining for years. Perceptions had become largely negative - that the chips were highly processed, and full of trans fats. This impression was untrue, and had to be corrected. But more than that (and with no product news) Lay's had to reignite the latent love that consumers still had for the brand.

STRATEGY & INSIGHT: Lay's had become a poster child for junk food. For example, over a third of people didn't believe that Lay's are made with potatoes! On the positive side Lay's chips are actually simple and unprocessed. They have just three ingredients - potatoes, heart-healthy oil and a dash of salt. In line with this, research uncovered that a lot of consumers wanted to love Lay's again. They saw the brand as part of the American fabric. It aligned with their affinity for simple pleasures, and evoked nearly universal feelings of happy times like childhood, picnics and barbeques. This was captured in the "Happiness is Simple" campaign, which launched in January 2009, using TV, print, out-of-home, digital, PR and POS.

EXECUTION: The first stage of the campaign aimed to shatter misperceptions. Along with a new website, an anthemic TV spot called "Fireworks" showed salt-of-the-earth Americans coming together to enjoy Lay's, while print and OOH carried the simple ingredients message. Next, the campaign profiled five Lay's potato farmers with down-to-earth stories rich in emotion, humility and community. Reinforcing this, the "Lay's Happiness Exhibit" (created in partnership with Flickr) allowed a community of like-minded moms to share the family's happiest moments with each other. And the entire effort generated superb in-store support.

RESULTS: For 2009, Lay's had the best year in its history. Dollar sales were up 13% vs. the year prior, and all metrics of brand health were exceptionally strong. This success has continued into 2010, with dollar sales to date up an additional 7.3% vs. year ago.

CAUSE & EFFECT: There was no major product innovation, or changes in spending, pricing, distribution or promotional activity. Research showed that the message was clearly breaking through, and market mix modelling showed an ROI for the campaign of well over 100%.

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