Sun Chips has used a multi-faceted advertising campaign that runs the gamete from word of mouth, blog postings and viral online videos to billboard campaigns and prime time TV advertisements. The central theme of their modern campaign is based around how their company is helping environmental causes and using new techniques to help the world. They have explained their role as an industry leader for environmental causes through an intensive campaign that is a mix of mass media and viral campaigns.
This is nowhere more prevalent than with television news coverage of their new bag being “too loud” for the common consumer. After a massive advertising campaign telling the world that they had this new packaging, people revolted against their caring ways and complained about the bag being much too loud. The variety of YouTube videos with outraged consumers performing decibel tests and screaming obscenities towards those who have made this step was staggering. Quiet snacking surprised the world by appearing to be more important to the average consumer than care for the planet. Sun Chips responded to accusations of inconsiderate noise by quickly withdrawing its environmentally friendly bag in the United States. They soon replaced it with a new, quieter bag available now. This trouble has given Sun Chips a lot of free publicity.
News reports also covered the change at Sun Chips and did not forget to note Frito-Lays factories have been modified to run on solar power. This is a wonderful way to gain publicity, especially for noble causes like those of Sun Chips. It is a strange note regarding humanity that compels a thinking person to wonder why the public was this outraged by the new bag’s noise. With no ill will towards the people, Sun Chips simply did what the people asked. Then, as fickle as people can be, they were outraged and shamed by the corporation and demanded the compostable bags back. Sun Chips again complied, costing Frito-Lay a small fortune. This time they made the bags quieter and hopefully those same YouTube users can remain still, compliant and happy with their choice in snack food.
Sun Chips are also found as free samples. Workers stand in convenience stores and supermarkets serving small portions of the chips in hopes that the passerby’s will enjoy them enough to purchase an entire bag of chips. This form of personal selling is usually an advertisement for a new flavor, but sometimes the old favorites like Harvest Cheddar are available. This is very profitable for Frito-Lay as it reminds impulsive consumers that these chips are delicious and many of them decide that it is time to purchase a bag, even though they haven’t bought one in a long time. Samples and personal selling of the product goes hand in hand with the most common reason people know of Sun Chips, mass distribution.
When Sun Chips became socially responsible and environmentally friendly they were accused of spending as much money advertising their newfound purity as they did upgrading their factories and making the new bags. Some of the money went to building interesting billboards that harnessed the power of the sun to create a shadow that wrote the Sun Chips logo on a billboard or the street below. They also created a fantastic print campaign and placed advertisements in many well-read magazines and newspapers. This media campaign did as much for the brand as their online campaign.
Before the public began to complain about the noise created by the new compostable bags, Sun Chips joined forces with National Geographic to give away $20000 to the person who gives the best way to care for the environment daily. They also joined forces with Earth911.com and as a major sponsor to the website were mentioned often as corporate leaders in environmental causes. At this website they began a contest similar to the National Geographic one, only Earth911 was giving away $100000. These friendly gestures did very little to Frito-Lay’s bottom line, but positively boosted the corporation’s image to the general public.