We’re sorry for the delay in blog posts this week at the TMRE blog and would like to wish any of our readers well who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy.
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Frito Lay launched a promotion recently to discover a new flavor for its potato chips. The ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest challenges consumers to submit flavor suggestions via a Facebook page or cellphone. Suggestions consist of a name for the flavor, possible ingredients and a brief description.
According to a press release from Frito Lay, 20 random names drawn per day win $50 and a bag of chips, however, there may be a $1 million winner selected by ‘a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts,’ that includes known flavor expert Eva Longoria. Or maybe she’s a foodie. Either way, she’s tied up in all this.
Versions of the ‘Do Us a Flavor’ contest held in the UK, India and Australia, included suggestions such as Mastana Mango, Caesar Salad, Late Night Kebob and Cajun Squirrel. This raises the question of whether a contest like this simply provides fun or genuine insight into what consumers want.
It’s true that consumers have contributed to product success. In 1987, Susan Aprill was a student in her junior year at the University of New Hampshire. Working in the dining hall during the summer she noticed two young girls adding anything they found to a dish of vanilla ice cream, including banana slices, nuts and hunks of chocolate. She passed the idea along to Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s along with the funny name she’d made up: Chunky Monkey. Twenty-five years later it’s still a popular flavor.
Aprill was given a card that lets her score free ice cream ‘ any flavor ‘ whenever she wants it. There were also lawsuits involving the name ‘ which two people uninvolved with Aprill claimed they made up ‘ as well as a lawsuit involving the rights to the cartoon monkey used on the packaging.
So that’s it ‘ gone are the innocent days when an ice cream company run by a couple of hippies in Burlington, Vermont can take suggestions from fans and pay them off with free ice cream. ‘Flavor’-doers will sign legal releases surrendering all rights in perpetuity’just in case any of their ideas are genuinely good. Keep in mind that the contest winner may not be a flavor idea that Lay’s chooses to greenlight. After all, Clay Aiken didn’t actually win ‘American Idol.’
In that spirit, feel free to use any of our ideas for your ‘Do Us a Flavor’ entry. We won’t make you sign a release:
- ‘ Bama-Lama Brisket
- ‘ Snackeroni and Cheese
- ‘ Straight Bourbon
- ‘ Who Beefed?
- ‘ Not-So-Routine Poutine
- ‘ If You Knew Sushi