Oct 10, 2008

Mktg - Pringles asks consumers to design its can for a cause

Elaine Wong

Pringles is looking to a cause-related arts-and-crafts project to give its brand a boost.

Beginning this week, consumers can go to Pringles.com to play with its new "Can Creator." The application allows users to design and print their own creations, which they can then tape onto their Pringles can.

For every can created, parent company Procter & Gamble will donate $1 to the Children's Miracle Network (up to $20,000). The campaign runs through June.

While Pringles original potato chips' sales increased 10.21% to $265 million for the year, per IRI data ending the week of Sept. 7, its Select kettle chips and 100-calorie packs line-extensions declined 8.13% and 5.14%, respectively.

Paul Kurnit, marketing professor at Pace University, New York, said consumer-generated campaigns can often give brands a pop in retail sales. "They give the brand a little bit of a peak at a certain point in time."

Tying in with a cause also helps. The 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study found that 79% of consumers said they would switch brands (provided price and quality were equal) to the one that is associated with a good cause. Eighty-five percent of respondents said they have a more positive image of a company when it supports a cause that is dear to them. And 38% have purchased a product associated with a cause in the last year.

Pringles is not alone in letting consumers design its cans. Pepsi is currently running a "Design Our Pepsi Can" promotion, where the winning designs are featured on cans nationwide and the artist receives $5,000.

The Pringles Can Creator is a natural fit with the brand's "rich heritage in design and innovation, which all started with the iconic can, the shape, the resealability, even the unique chip," said Douwe Bergsma, Pringles North American marketing director. Pringles hopes consumers will keep their customized cans to use as a storage device long after the chips are gone.

P&G spent $31.2 million on Pringles in 2007, excluding online, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

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