I am a fan of choice, but I think that Lays has taken it a bit too far.  Recently they introduced Chicken and Waffle potato chips — what?  I wonder if when BBQ and cheddar first came out if they were seen as outlandish.  Now it seems that the goal is to be different to the extreme so as to capture the attention of consumers.

When does the brand expansion stop?  Apparently no time soon.  In addition to chicken and waffle, there are now jalapeno and Sriracha Lays.  Maybe if the Sriracha chips are hot enough, you could eat just one!!!!

I think that Lays illustrates the continual challenge that companies and organizations face today as the demand for innovation grows.  It’s not enough to stop with one new variety; now new flavors are introduced multiple times/year.  It’s not enough to have a new version of a traditional flavor, or even a combination that occurs elsewhere in a normal pairing.  To stand out, apparently Lays believes that you need to go way outside the box.

Is there something in your organization that lends itself to an extreme makeover or radical innovation like waffles and chicken chips?  Lays still has their Original version and I suspect that it is still their sales leader, but a little experimentation may be what you need to draw attention from a new crowd.  

— beth triplett

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