Crowdsourcing Potato Chip Flavors Boosts Sales

Published Jun-17-13

A popular nationwide contest to find a tantalizing new crisp flavor.

Simba, South Africa

The Story:

Crowdsourcing Potato Chip Flavors Boosts Sales Crowdsourcing contests are smart PR tools in addition to being valuable means of innovating. They have been enthusiastically embraced by some customer-facing companies as a way to market their brands or products. Primarily, this is by involving consumers in fun and engaging activities. All of this can result in positive world of mouth which can lead to increases sales.

Designing and running a crowdsourced contest can also be much cheaper than organizing major advertising campaigns on TV, radio, and in print.

What’s Your Lekker Flavor?

Simba is a popular potato chip manufacturer in South Africa that produces a number of leading brands. It is currently owned by PepsiCo.

In 2010 the company launched the ‘What’s Your Lekker Flavor’ nationwide competition for potato chip flavor suggestions. It captured the popular imagination.

More than 187,000 submissions were made via the competition’s website, social media, and SMS messaging. They included photographs, descriptions, and drawings. Many ideas were based on some of the country’s favorite foods including prawns, biltong, and oxtail.

A panel of judges selected four finalists whose suggestions went into production and then on sale in 30 gram and 120 gram bag sizes. The judges based their decisions on the flavors, the inspirations that were put forward with each entry, whether the chips would fit in with the rest of the Simba range, and whether the chips could be considered truly South African.

Four Finalists

The flavors were: Vetkoek and Polony, Walkie Talkie Chicken, Snock and Atchar, and Masala Steak Gatsby. The faces of the finalists were seen on the packaging of their flavor chip and each finalist also starred in their own commercial to promote their flavor innovation.

A hungry public snapped up the new crisp flavors and voted for their favorite one.


The overall winner was decided by volume of sales (60%) and by the public vote (40%). Walkie Talkie Chicken by Aletta Crofton from Green Point, Cape Town was declared the winner.

Her inspiration came from a photo of a young girl from Sterkstroom enjoying a chicken potjie, a stew prepared outdoors. She was holding a cooked ‘walkie’ (chicken foot) in one hand and a ‘talkie’ (chicken head) in the other.

“I put a little bit of effort into entering the competition and received so much more in return,” said Aletta. “Simba treated me like royalty, made me famous and rewarded me very liberally. This competition gave ordinary South Africans the opportunity to share their innovative ideas with the rest of the country.”

Aletta’s prize was 200,000 South African Rand in cash (approx. $USD 22,000) and 1% of sales of the winning flavor for as long as it is on sale. This could amount to up to 500,000 South African Rand per annum.

That was a big win for Aletta and also for Simba, as 15 million packets of chips were sold during the final phase of the competition.

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