The ride-sharing and potato chip brands united for two days to deliver on-demand picnics in a surprise-and-delight effort that used mobile as the facilitator.
Ride-share service Uber partnered with potato chip brand Lay's to bring New Yorkers on-demand picnics on August 15 and 16 as part of Lay's Do Us a Flavor campaign, a contest that asks consumers to submit ideas for new potato chip flavors.
The picnics were distributed by Uber's delivery service UberRush and included two sandwiches from Lower East Side deli Katz's, as well as samples of two of four potential new potato chip flavors, two bottles of Aquafina water, pickles, oranges, and a picnic blanket.
Lay's announced the flavor contest finalists in July. They include: Cappuccino, Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, and Wavy Mango Salsa. In a release, the brand says it received more than 14 million entries. It is asking consumers to vote through October 18 on the contest website, by text message, or via Twitter, Instagram, and/or Vine using the hashtags #SaveCappuccino, #SaveBaconMac, #SaveWasabi, or #SaveMango.
In a blog post, Uber says, "All you have to do is pick a grassy spot, open your app, and request your free picnic!"
More specifically, users had to enter the code, "LAYSPICNIC," to unlock the option in the app and make their request between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on August 15 or 16.
Thereafter, an UberRush messenger will be dispatched to the user's location with a picnic, the post says. Uber did not provide specifics, but the post says demand for picnics would be high and availability/supplies are limited.
"It may take a few tries to find available picnics," Uber says. "Please be patient!"
Picnic deliveries were only available in Manhattan between 14th and 96th Streets.
"With only two weeks left until Labor Day, it's time to squeeze every last moment out of Summer 2014," Uber says in the post.
The effort also incorporates the hashtags #FlavorRush and #DoUsAFlavor. In addition, Lay's is asking consumers to tell the brand where else they find the finalist flavors using the hashtag #FoundFlavor.
It also follows an effort on July 18 in which Uber delivered ice cream on demand in 144 cities. However, unlike on-demand picnics, the ice cream was not free and was instead billed to Uber accounts. A blog post provides a list of prices and ice creams that were available.
Kristin Kovner, president of marketing strategy consultancy K-Squared Strategies, calls the ice cream effort "a true surprise-and-delight moment that built goodwill with customers but also generated loads of buzz and social sharing among those who saw the stunt." She also says the Lay's partnership "is an extension of that strategy, but now lets national brand partner Lay's tap into an urban Millennial segment and get the 'halo' effect of Uber brand association."
Kovner adds that the campaign is a great example of a trend in experiential marketing in which experiences cross platforms, using mobile as the facilitator.
Lay's and Aquafina are PepsiCo brands.
Reps for both brands were not available for comment.
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In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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