Crisps are not a product known for their constant innovation. In fact, recent YouGov polling shows there is genuine resistance to the introduction of new flavours, with around three in 10 believing there are enough flavours already.
Therefore it may seem odd that a crisp manufacturer would want to base an entire advertising campaign around introducing a new flavour. Yet this year Walkers has been doing just this with its “Do Us A Flavour” campaign.
It has put six new flavours to the public: hot dog with tomato ketchup; cheesy beans on toast; pulled pork in a sticky BBQ sauce; sizzling steak fajita; chip shop chicken curry; and ranch raccoon – yes, ranch raccoon.
Adverts for the new snacks were unveiled on 8 August and showed the sainted Gary Lineker – the former England striker and now face of BBC1’s Match of the Day and Walkers – asking the public to undertake blind taste tests on the new flavours. But given Britain’s resistance to challenging the potato snack status quo, could the campaign be a success?
Looking across a range of metrics on YouGov’s BrandIndex, we can see that it has been.
Walkers’ Ad Awareness score, that measures whether people have seen the brand’s advertisement in the past two weeks, showed a sizable increase when the adverts launched. In the month after 8 August, the number of people who remember seeing a Walkers’ ad rose by 10 percentage points from 17 per cent to 27 per cent, indicating that the advert stuck had in the minds of consumers.
As well as being remembered by the public, “Do Us A Flavour” has also made people talk about Walkers. Its Word of Mouth Exposure score – a measure of whether people have spoken about the brand with friends and family in the past two weeks – increased too, from six per cent to 10 per cent.
As well as sticking in people’s minds and increasing chatter around the brand, the “Do Us A Flavour” spots seem to have lifted sales. Walkers’ Current Customer score, which asks whether people have purchased a brand’s product in the last month, increased by three percentage points in the first month of the campaign.
As a campaign to boost sales, increase awareness and get people talking about Walkers, “Do Us A Flavour” has clearly hit the sweet spot among consumers.
However, whether any of the new flavours will become standard crisp flavours to sit alongside classics such as salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, smoky bacon and ready salted.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov.