Food case study: Walkers ‘Do Us a Flavour’ gets web buzzing about crisps

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In 2008, Walkers crisps renewed customers interest in new flavours by revamping its traditional brand development process and getting consumers deeply involved in product development. The campaign was a huge success with over 1 million flavour suggestions, 4.3 million visits to the site (with four to nine minutes spent on site) and saw year on year sales growth increase by 68%. Building on this, Walkers decided to re-launch the campaign in 2014 with the eventual winner, winning a £1 million cash prize.

Case study summary

• Campaign to increase brand awareness and get the nation to fall in love with Walkers again

• Building on the success of the 2008 ‘Do Us a Flavour campaign’ Walkers re-launched the yearlong campaign in 2014

• The winning flavour was pulled pork in a sticky BBQ sauce

The challenge

Delivering great flavours to the British public is part of the Walkers success story, but in recent years the traditional model for introducing new flavours into the market has become ineffective. Walkers and their media agency needed to come up with an innovative campaign that would make the news of new flavours irresistible again. In 2014 after the success of the 2008 ‘do us a flavour campaign’, Walkers decided to re-launch the nationwide search for the next new flavour of crisps. On top of launching a new flavour, Walkers wanted to engage with the public and create a campaign to make the nation love Walkers again.

The solution

This time the public would have to create a new unique flavour combination starting with one of Walkers home grown ingredients: Somerset cheddar, Devonshire chicken, Dorset sour cream, Aberdeen Angus beef, Norfolk pork or Vale of Evesham tomatoes. The campaign kicked off in January and after 1.2 million entry suggestions, six finalists were chosen in June, and it was down to the British public to taste and vote for their favourite. The six final flavours were: pulled pork in a sticky BBQ sauce, sizzling steak fajita, chip shop chicken curry, ranch racoon, cheesy beans on toast and hot dog with ketchup.

In order to maximise public involvement Walkers needed to fuel flavour conversations via social media. In September once the six final flavours were chosen Walkers turned three busy London bus stops into vending machines giving the public the chance to try six final flavours. Instead of using money to purchase a packet of crisps, customers had to tweet to eat.

To further fuel a buzz, Walkers launched an ad campaign using both traditional and digital marketing: such as billboards, radio and commercials, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They even had a flavour army to get people talking about crisps at events!

The results

When the ‘Do Us a Flavour’ ad campaign was launched Walkers ad score (which measures if people have seen a brands advertisement in the last two weeks) showed a significant increase.
During August 2014 the number of people who remembered seeing a Walker’s ad rose from 17% to 27%, indicating the advert stuck in the minds of customers.

Not only was the ad campaign remembered by the public, the ‘Do Us a Flavour’ campaign also made people talk about Walkers. Walkers’ word of mouth exposure score (which measures if people have spoken about the brand with friends and family in the last two weeks) increased from 6% to 10%.

As a campaign to increase brand awareness, get people talking about Walkers and boost sales, the ‘do us a flavour’ campaign was a great success. However it doesn’t look like the new winning flavour will become a classic flavour like cheese and onion or salt and vinegar.

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