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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Mansfield

How Brands are Appealing to Younger Audiences

For years, brands have been trying to understand the ever-evolving enigma (only half joking here) that is the youth. With the rise of social media and incredibly volatile, nuanced nature of Internet meme culture, solving the puzzle is only proving to be an even tougher feat.

However, it seems that when brands do master a marketing campaign targeted, results are incredibly rewarding. Take Wendy's, for example, which after establishing a reputation on Twitter for being sassy and with-the-times, is experiencing a revival in cultural relevance.

Lately, Lay's Chips has been experiencing a similar phenomenon. With its "Smiles" marketing campaign, which encouraged consumers to smile with their bag of chips and resulted in around 700 selfies posted per day on social media with the hashtag #SmileWithLays.

With the rise of marketing efforts such as these, we're definitely noticing a push for engagement rather than shock-factor. Marketing campaigns can't just be catchy or showy, they need to actively engage with the consumers and foster a sense of unity and movement.

Check out Lay's newest effort to get audiences invested below!

From Marketing Dive:

Lay's puts potato's fate in hands of Twitter followers

Barry Levine | Aug. 16, 2019

Dive Brief:

Frito-Lay brand Lay's has placed the fate of one potato named Spud into the hands of its followers ahead of National Potato Day on Aug. 19, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.Fans can determine Spud's fate on Monday by using one of two hashtags on Twitter. If #SaveSpud sees more shares, the potato will be spared. But if #SizzleSpud prevails, he will become a Lay's potato chip, a fate the brand describes, ironically enough, as "every potato's dream."Lay's said it will randomly award potato-themed prizes to those who engage with the social media effort. Developed by Frito-Lay's internal creative team, the campaign includes paid and promoted posts on Twitter to raise awareness.

Dive Insight:

The Spud-focused social media push from Lay's continues the brand's efforts to offer consumers light-hearted, smile-inducing creative. The Twitter stunt around National Potato day follows the return of Lay's limited-run "Smiles" packaging that features the smiles of real people, a concept the snacks maker debuted last year.

Lay's claims its first "Smiles" effort led to 700 selfies posted per day of consumers with the brand's products, and a #SmileWithLays hashtag showed up in more than 30,000 tweets and 10,000 Instagram posts. The voting concept around Spud is a clear bid to drum up similar online engagement.

It's an approach other food marketers have adopted, either for campaigns timed around holidays, like Lay's, or to inform product decisions. Heinz last summer ran a Twitter poll asking followers whether it should introduce a ketchup-mayonnaise blend product. The campaign, created with agencies VML, Olson and Starcom, generated 2.4 billion impressions and lifted brand awareness for a regular mayonnaise offering Heinz was introducing at the time by 28%. 

Older fans of Lay's will understand why the brand is leaning into smiles as it tries to extend good feelings to younger consumers who are more active on mobile and social media channels. In decade's past, Lay's commercials were best known for actor Bert Lahr's engaging smile as he happily declared that "no one can eat just one" of the chips.  

But positivity-focused messaging from brands has grown as a trend overall amid sharp political divisions in the U.S. Alcohol brand Mike's Hard Lemonade earlier this year launched a campaign that blocks negative news and redirects consumers to positive stories. The effort included special newsstands and a pop-up experience in New York City.

Other chip brands are also aligning themselves with the latest online marketing trends to capture the interest of young consumers. Pringles this week signed on as an esports sponsor for the "League of Legends" European championship summer finals, with its cans offering a raffle code for various prizes.

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