Give more than you get

Give more than you get

Give more than you get – Part 2 of 2 

Ben Franklin advised that allowing someone to do you a favor makes them more favorably disposed toward you. Find out how CPGs are using this tactic with consumers.

By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

In 2012, Frito-Lay wanted to rejuvenate their 75-year-old Lay’s Potato Chips brand. The company created a Facebook campaign and app called, “Do us a Flavor,” and asked consumers to define the next chip flavor. After doing so, the app generated a bag image with the “new” flavor that consumers could share on their own social channels to get their friends involved. The results were mind-blowing: 3.8 million submissions and a 12% increase in sales. Frito-Lay has now grown the program and expanded it across multiple regions.

An authentic request to your target market needs to feel genuine. The request needs to be small, quickly completed, and in the interest of your audience. The quick engage-and-share of the Lay’s campaign offered the consumer a small reward for a quick investment of time. Creating an app and a campaign around this sort of idea is far from easy, but part of the idea behind your customers doing you a favor involves you giving more than you get.

Jones Soda has been engaging users online since the dawn of social media. They started in 2004 asking fans to upload photos to an online gallery. If the company likes your photo, they’ll print it on an upcoming label run. That online gallery currently houses roughly 1.3 million consumer images. That’s a lot of interaction. The campaign has been so successful that Jones expanded their offerings to include user-customized cases of soda with the consumer’s name and label design.

Many brands have devised less direct ways to ask their favors by designing sharable packaging and products. Examples of this include Twix’s double bar “sharing size” products and Walker’s Tear and Share Crisps (PepsiCo’s Lay’s brand in the U.K.). By making it more convenient to enjoy their products with a friend, these companies are specifically using their packaging to create brand ambassadors.

And in other cases, packaging can be used to ask the consumer to think differently and more sustainably about the product. Take GreenBox for instance. Instead of using the same common recycled-materials mantras, pizza delivered in GreenBox packaging comes with a request: Break the 100% recycled box into components and use them as plates for four and as a space-saving container for leftovers. By doing this favor, the consumer wins too. They save at cleanup, and they cut down the waste from plates and leftover containers.

In the end, it’s about engaging with people and asking them to contribute effort on your behalf. When considering something new, reach out to your customer base for their opinions; ask them for a small favor of help. Taking quick quizzes, completing surveys, and sharing their ideas on social media are easy ways to accomplish this goal. It makes them feel more invested in your brand, because they wouldn’t take the time to do you these favors unless they really liked you. Right, Ben?

Dr. R. Andrew Hurley is Assistant Professor of Packaging Science, Clemson University, and founder of Package InSight and The Packaging School. He can be reached at

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