Corporate Eye

Potato Chips and Flickr — A Happy New Social Media Marketing Tactic

Lays_Happiness_exhibitFlickr is the most popular online photo sharing site, but it has yet to be fully leveraged for social media marketing.  The reason lies in part due to the restrictions of use that the site has in place to ensure that everyone who spends time there is uploading valid images that add to the community rather than detract from it.  PepsiCo’s snack food division, Frito-Lay, is trying to find the secret to marketing via Flickr with its new “The Happiness Exhibit” campaign.  Check out the Web site here and the Flickr group here.

Consumers are being asked to upload photos of themselves, friends and family to Flickr (or to Flickr from Facebook) while enjoying happy moments in life.  Some of the images will appear in People magazine and on Lay’s product packages later this year.  The campaign integrates well with Lay’s “Happiness is Simple” initiative that has played out in advertising and marketing over the past year.  The new digital component of the initiative on Flickr will be promoted with ads on Hulu, iVillage, Yahoo! and YouTube as well as on some Lay’s product packages.

This particular campaign has a big budget push behind it, and partnerships have been made between Frito-Lay, Flickr, and Yahoo! to make it happen.  The campaign was announced by press release on March 15, 2010, and by March 16, 2010, nearly 6,000 images had already been uploaded demonstrating that people like the idea of sharing photos without a lot of encouragement.  It certainly helps that a lot of people already have Flickr accounts, but the point is that people love to share content they’re proud of, and photos are included.

How can you leverage photo or content sharing to market your brand?  It’s something people clearly like to do?  Can you create a campaign around sharing — an activity that your customers are already doing?  It’s quite an opportunity.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.