With an aim to strengthen its snacks portfolio, PepsiCo India has launched a premium range of slow-cooked kettle chips, Lay’s Gourmet. The biggest insight behind the launch was that Indians, especially the elite and the affluent households, are increasingly on the lookout for options that can magnify or elevate their special moments, Shailja Joshi, marketing director, potato chips category, PepsiCo India said, told BrandWagon Online. In conversation, she talked about the new launch, consumer trends in the category, marketing plans for Lay’s and more. (Edited Excerpts)
What was the idea behind the launch of Lay’s Gourmet?
Lay’s Gourmet is our third innovation of the year. We launched Wafer Style and Lay’s Sizzlin’ Hot earlier this year. Gourmet is our entry into the niche yet fast evolving and growing category of premium potato chips in India. We have undergone robust research for the entire mix – right from product, to packaging and proposition. The biggest insight was that Indians, especially the elite and the affluent households, are increasingly on the lookout for options that can magnify or elevate their special moments.
What are the price points and the target audience?
Lay’s Gourmet is targeted to anyone in the slightly younger audience. We are going with a need and occasion-based psychographic segmentation. Hence, we have launched this with unique and specialised flavours. There are three flavours — Lime and Cracked Pepper, Thai Sweet Chilli and Vintage Cheese and Paprika. We have launched Gourmet in two price points starting with the pack of Rs 30 (55 g) and the larger price pack of Rs 50 (80 gm).
How will you promote the launch?
We will adopt a 360-degree approach to target the right audiences. Right from TV to digital, which includes social media, e-commerce, to influencers, OTT will have a strong play in the media strategy. This is also because the premium audiences in India are increasingly shifting towards consuming content on digital and OTT platforms. They buy online and hence as a strategy at PepsiCo, we try touching base with them at every touchpoint.
How has the pandemic impacted your category and what are the trends?
For us marketers, what really stays is authenticity or the way you talk to consumers. Purpose is something that both brands and consumers became conscious of during the pandemic and it continues to stay.
Furthermore, digital has become very prominent, especially e-commerce, not just as a selling medium but also as an advertising medium.
The third thing, which will also be a strategic priority for us, is to drive in-home consumption. Our entire Lays at home campaign which was launched during the pandemic still continues to be a strong platform that we intend to keep driving.
PepsiCo reported double-digit growth in snacks volumes for the second quarter in India. How much have tier 2 and 3 markets added to this growth?
For the brand Lay’s, the distribution is very strong. As we have price points from Rs 5 to Rs 10, Rs 20, and Rs 50, among others, we are a brand that is able to reach and be loved by all kinds of consumer segments.
What will be the marketing strategy for Lay’s moving forward?
We will continue to drive our innovation agenda. We also want to keep driving our digital agenda, whether it’s using digital platforms to sell or to reach out to consumers through our communication. We want to accelerate the at-home consumption agenda as well.
How will the ad budgets be allocated for Lay’s?
Traditional media will still be a substantial part of our mix. It will also depend on the brand or the portfolio we are driving. For instance, for a brand like Lay’s, traditional media and regional media continue to be very important. However, even in that case, the kind of mix that we will attribute to digital or new age media will increase. When it comes to brands like Maxx or Gourmet, the mix of new age media, digital, e-commerce, among others will become much more important. TV will keep driving the reach that we have.