With such well-known names as Doritos, Cheetos, and Fritos in its portfolio, Frito-Lay is hardly a slouch when it comes to branding. But until last year, the company didn’t even categorize its Frito-Lay Multipack, in which individual-size packages of some of its favorite snack foods were sold as one unit, as a brand, but rather as a “packaging solution.”
But as part of an initiative to increase Multipack sales at last 3%, Frito-Lay turned to The Marketing Arm to help transform the product into a brand of its own.
The target audience for Multipacks, not surprisingly, is mothers. The sizable portion of these mothers, research showed, had kids ages 8-12 who identified themselves as gamers and early tech adopters—the type who would be attracted by, say, an up-and-coming video-game franchise.
So Frito-Lay partnered with one such franchise, Skylanders, on a nine-month campaign that started with the creation of four exclusive characters, Sidekicks. Not only were they incorporated into the wireless video game, but consumers could collect specially marked Multipack bags and mail in the enclosed cards to receive a Sidekick figurine. Also created especially for the promotion were an exclusive online game and a limited-edition flavor, Adventure Mix.
To promote the Sidekicks in-store, Frito-Lay and The Marketing Arm developed a display that turned traditional aisle end caps into a Sidekick character—one that could be stocked with Multipacks, of course. A social outreach campaign targeting both moms and Skylander fans via blogs and websites further supported the campaign. And during the holiday season, when Skylanders was rolling out its Giants characters, Frito-Lay created packaging featuring one of the Giants and offers consumers the chance to win a figurine before it was available for sale.
Remember that sales-growth goal of 3%? The campaign led to a rise of more than 6% in sales, as well as 300 million PR impressions and redemptions of more than 250,000 Multipack Sidekick characters. Who says sidekicks never get their share of attention?