#chooseorlose: Why Walkers’ Crisp Campaign is Half-Baked

A vote of democrispy

As a nation of keep calm and carry on-ers, there are few things that stir British passion: a shit cup of tea, weather, and most recently, political opportunities to vote. The latter brought 70% of British citizens to the polls to vote in this year’s General Election.

Trying to get a portion of recent voter empowerment, crisp-manufacturer Walkers has decided to throw the overhaul of their product range to the people. Votes can be made by purchasing a single, promotional bag of crisps, or through the Walkers’ website and social media. Three British staples will be going head-to-head against three flavours from around the world. Author’s favourite Salt & Vinegar will be facing off Australia’s Lime & Black Pepper. Prawn Cocktail faces hot competition from Spain’s Paprika, and whilst somebody’s bacon will be saved, it’ll be a fry up between Smoky Bacon and US cousin Bacon & Cheddar

Is public opinion a crisp above the rest?

Public vote has defined the future of British politics and its EU relationship. It has ruthlessly dismissed Love Island contestants with the click of a button and nearly brought us Boaty McBoatface (National Environmental Research Council had us settle for a submarine). How can Walkers be so callous as to hand over such a salty decision to the common person?

Choose me or lose me – Walkers

The voting period for the crisp “referendum” began on August 14 and closes October 22. If a new flavour is a winner it will be launched into the market in January 2018. If you didn’t get your chance to vote in the EU Referendum to “take back control”, and “keep Britain British”, you can at least give shelf space to “native” flavours and kick out the insurgents invading our crisp sandwiches.

Get angry. Panic. Tell your neighbours. October 22 could change the face of crips forever. Prawn Cocktail could be consigned to the history books and Salt & Vinegar may live on only as condiments on your weekly chippie.

Unsurprisingly, crisp-consumers have been concerned.

Crunching the Small Print

Walker’s Twitter account tells users, “Only #chooseorlose votes can help you keep your favourite flavours on the shelves!”. However, this isn’t entirely true. According to Walkers’ terms and conditions, the selection of the winning flavours will be made from 20% of online voting data with the remaining 80% of data coming from crisp sales. One might argue that the company are playing it safe. Limiting the strength of public opinion to just one fifth of the decision prevents too many surprises. The public can speak, but the real voting power comes from their actions: purchasing a promotional pack of their favourite flavour. That rumble you hear in the distance is a steady wave of revenue filling the company coffers.  “Choose or lose” may plaster its social media banners and advertisements, however, the underlying message shouts, “buy more crisps!”.

The campaign is an exciting way to introduce new flavours into lunchboxes and cupboards nationally. However, Walkers are likely banking on the loyalty of British consumers to their favourite crisps to maintain the original products in the range. Nobody can really imagine them disappearing from our shelves. In that respect, the campaign has more air than a bag of the 32.5g savoury snack. However, we did say the same about Brexit.

 

– Sarah Maclean

Feature Image: Shutterstock

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