Pringles Chips WTF (Sales Promotion Campaign)

Topics

Sales promotion, product line extension, brand health

Teaching Notes 

  • Overview: This activity is built around a new flavor campaign for the well-known snack brand Pringles. This campaign is a mix of a sales promotion and a product line extension. The WTF in the campaign’s tagline is designed to generate awareness, and in this campaign WTF refers to “what’s the flavor?” of the mystery new taste of Pringles.
  • The purpose: of this exercise is to explore the short and long-term impact of sales promotion on a well-known FMCG brand. In FMCG markets, it is becoming common for brands to use these forms of sales promotions to encourage brand switching and increased customer loyalty.
  • Teaching Level: Intermediate – students should be familiar with the benefits and limitations of sales promotions as a marketing tactic.
  • Suggested Structure: This task is designed as for small discussion groups, as the some of the responses need to be quite considered.
  • Approximate Timing: Allow up to 30 minutes for the group discussion, as there are six questions to address. Allow another 20-30 minutes to explore group responses in a class setting.  

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet


Student Discussion Activity

Introduction

In this exercise, you will explore a combined sales promotion and product line extension campaign for Pringles. As you may know, Pringles is a snack brand owned by Kellogg’s, and is sold in over 140 countries.

You would probably know this snack brand as it comes in a can and the chips are stacked. As a reminder, here are some of their flavors:


The WTF Campaign

In the Australian market in 2020, Pringles ran a sales promotion for a mystery new flavor, built around the tagline WTF = what’s the flavor? Here is their advertising (which also shows their new packaging) for this promotion…

Pringles what's the flavor campaign

As can be seen, the packaging is black-and-white, giving no clue to the flavor inside. Mr. Pringle on the logo looks puzzled. And the caption at the top of the packaging reads “What’s the Flavor? Guess to win $10,000!”

Therefore, this campaign was designed as a competition-based sales promotion, and potentially also introducing a new flavor (product line extension) to the Australian market.

The intention of the campaign is to encourage consumers to buy this new product (most likely as a one-off purchase), in order to see if they could work out the mystery flavor in the chance of winning up to $10,000. While this campaign would appeal to loyal Pringle consumers, it would also likely attract trial sales from occasional and non-customers as well.


Student Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think that this campaign be likely to increase short-term sales?
  2. Why would a consumer buy a product where they did not know whether they liked the flavor?
  3. Do you think that this campaign would simply cannibalize existing sales? (That is, existing customers purchase this mystery flavor instead of their regular purchase, resulting in no sales increase overall.)
  4. Why would the brand associate with the letters WTF, given this can also have a negative connotation?
  5. Why would the brand run this sales promotion, rather than just introducing the new flavor straight to the marketplace?
  6. Could this campaign help increase any brand health metrics? (Examples: awareness, likeability, positioning, preference, loyalty.)
  7. Other than short-term sales, what other marketing goals could this campaign have for the brand?

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