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Lay’s, the snacks giant, announced earlier this week the finalists of its “Do Us a Flavor” competition, which asked the crowd to suggest new chip flavors.
The three winners are Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken and Waffles, and Sriracha, the popular Thai hot sauce. The flavors will hit the stores next Tuesday, though there are reports of some people already getting their hands on the new chips.
From now until May 4th, fans will be able to cast votes for which flavor they want Lay’s to keep permanently. Snackers can participate via Facebook, Twitter (with hashtags #SaveGarlicBread, #SaveSriracha, and #SaveChickenWaffles), or by texting VOTE to 24477.
While the intention is to keep the most popular flavor, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer Ann Mukherjee told the Associated Press that if the other two flavors sell well, they too may stick around for the long term.
Between July 20th and October 6th, fans sent in 3.8 million flavor suggestions, which were whittled down to twenty. These twenty were then prototyped, and a judge’s panel (which included chef Michael Symon and actress Eva Longoria) selected the three finalists.
Lay’s will award the winner of the competition a million dollars, or one percent of the flavor’s 2013 sales, whichever is higher. The two runners-up will win $50,000. MediaPost reports that Lay’s will push the final leg of the competition through a social media marketing campaign, as well as radio and TV spots, and in-store promotions.
All in all, this is a very well thought out crowd-powered marketing campaign by Lay’s. It has a true crowdsourced aspect, with both the submissions and the eventual winner being left up to the public. But, unlike some other brands that used crowdsourcing for marketing campaigns, Lay’s moderated the submissions to ensure that it had some control over the process. The prize money amount also likely contributed to the success of the campaign.
While all three flavors sound tasty enough to this correspondent, this really is Sriracha’s competition to lose. The hot sauce has gained a cult-like following on sites like Reddit, and is probably the most distinct flavor of the three. We’ll be sure to follow up once we’ve tasted the flavors.