Frito-Lay Thanks 1.5M New Facebook ‘Likes’ With Bag of Chips

In case there was any lingering doubt, it should now be abundantly clear that PepsiCo thinks social media is all that and a bag of chips.

The beverages-and-snacks company said this morning that its Frito-Lay brand attracted 1.5 million new Facebook “likes” on April 11 alone. PepsiCo is thanking those people today by letting 24,000 “likers” claim a free bag of chips on a first-come first-served basis on Frito-Lay’s Facebook page.

Starting at 3 p.m. ET, a product giveaway tab will appear on the brand’s page, where viewers can receive a freebie coupon. Frito-Lay, a brand that’s based in Plano, TX, says the chips normally retail for $3.99. Its social media team posted about the giveaway in its Facebook newsfeed today, but at press time hadn’t tweeted the offer to its 10,300 Twitter followers.

Yesterday, PepsiCo introduced “social vending machines” that let people buy friends a soda pop and then send it in the form of a mobile voucher. The machines come with a touch keyboard that lets users enter a friend’s mobile phone number, name, and personalized message. A built-in camera lets them include a video with the gifting message.

How many machines exist in the pilot and where they are located has not been revealed. PepsiCo launched the initiative with a YouTube video, which can be watched below.

Both the Frito-Lay giveaway and social vending machines highlight the Purchase, NY-based company’s continuing commitment to social media. Some have questioned its social fervor in the wake of a Beverage Digest report last month suggesting the company’s flagship brand, Pepsi, had fallen to third place behind Coke and Diet Coke. Pepsi – known for its Refresh Everything goodwill campaign and a bevy of social media efforts – had ranked second for decades in that sales category.

B. Bonin Bough, PepsiCo’s global director for digital, recently told ClickZ that singling out his company’s social media marketing efforts for the fall to third place was wrong-headed.

“The whole point of integrated marketing is that it’s never one thing over the other,” he said. “The people who are going to see continued success with [social media] are going to believe in integration. It’s not about isolation.”