Digital to continue playing a crucial role in our communication strategies: Shailja Joshi of PepsiCo

In an interaction with, Shailja Joshi, Associate Director, Potato Chips Category, PepsiCo India, talks about their marketing plans for Lay's and discusses their new Valentine's Day campaign

Nisha Qureshi
New Update
Digital to continue playing a crucial role in our communication strategies: Shailja Joshi of PepsiCo

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Lay’s has launched two new flavours: Lay’s Herby Crush and Lay’s Cheesy Love. The brand has also launched a new TVC with Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor titled #YeWaalaYaadRahega and extended a digital extension with #‘What’s Your Relationchip Status?’, encouraging consumers to share the status of their relationships.

The campaign has kickstarted with the launch of an engaging and quirky augmented Reality filter on Instagram, which enables users to find out their relationship status in a fun and entertaining manner. The filter uses gestures to present users with a series of quirky questions and two options for them to choose from. The users select the desired option by tilting their head to select their preferred answers. At the end of the questions, the filter will reveal the ‘relationchip’ status of the user. The brand is also engaging with 3000+ micro-influencers through one-of-a-kind hamper shared with them. This activity has so far received an overwhelming response from netizens with 5 million engagement, reaching 12 million people.

Shailja Joshi

Speaking about the idea behind the campaign, Shailja Joshi, Associate Director, Potato Chips Category, PepsiCo India, said, “Lay’s is a brand that celebrates connections and enables moments of joys. This Valentine’s Day, we wanted to offer our consumers an opportunity to celebrate their relationship status—whether committed, happily single or long distance—whatever they may be. In doing so, we wanted to offer our consumers and fans a unique yet memorable experience. Through the launch of these two unique flavours aptly named Lay’s Herby Crush and Cheesy Love, consumers can celebrate their memorable moments this Valentine’s Day over a pack of chips.”

Asked how they stayed relevant in a cluttered digital space in 2020, Joshi said, “We at PepsiCo India have been following a digital-forward approach for our brand communication strategies by leveraging multiple platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, ShareChat et al. In line with the recent surge in the number of hours people are spending on devices, we saw data becoming the most important currency today.”

She said since the brand is youth-centric, each platform of communication is crucial. Digital channels emerged as the hero as people remain confined indoors, spending significant time online. “In this context, we experimented with differentiated content and formats.”

She said the brand will continue to curate creative campaigns backed by a 360-marketing mix, where digital will continue playing a crucial role.

“Taking cognisance of this being a trend that was here to stay, we initiated a number of digital-first campaigns across brands, with a strong focus on amplifying reach and engagement amongst netizens. Our recent initiatives include Lay’s ‘What’s Your Relationchip?’, Lay’s Heartwork and Lay’s Khol campaigns along with Kurkure #ChatpataShukriya, Kurkure #AbLagaMasala and Doritos #BlameItOnCrunch. We do anticipate people to spend more time on their digital devices and hence, we would continue to plan our communication strategies with a stronger digital focus,” she added.

Talking about logistical challenges during the lockdown, Joshi said they focused on reaching out to rural areas to ensure last-mile delivery. “During the early days of the lockdown when consumers found it challenging to step out of their homes even for buying essentials, the demand for online deliveries — especially for food and other essentials — saw a significant rise. Direct-to-customer (D2C) channels took precedence. In line with this, PepsiCo India tied up with Swiggy and Dunzo for exclusive Lay's and Kurkure E-stores. These partnerships help ensure availability of our products to the consumer on-demand and delivery within two hours.”

“There was increased focus on rural channels this year. PepsiCo India entered into a partnership with common service centres (CSC), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, to list products on the Grameen e-store platform. This was done to enable last-mile doorstep delivery in rural India and encourage e-entrepreneurship. As a part of the partnership, PepsiCo India’s snacking brands like Lay’s, Kurkure and Uncle Chipps have been listed on the CSC Grameen eStore and made available in the hinterlands through aspirational village level entrepreneurs,” Joshi said.

Joshi said they will be mindful of the changes in consumer behaviour and reflect the role they play in the consumer's lives. “2020 will surely remain a landmark year for marketing that was authentic, empathetic and purpose-driven. The year saw a wide spectrum of engaging and insightful work done by brands across the industry. We kept these learnings at the centre of our all campaigns in 2020, right from the Lay’s Heartwork campaign – which was an ode to unsung and unseen heroes for their continued efforts despite the challenging times, to the Kurkure ChatpataShukriya campaign – where we expressed gratitude towards the millions of Indian families for their continued support towards each other during these tough times. Our campaigns at PepsiCo India exemplified ‘power of purpose’ in not just building brand equity but also resulting in strong business outcomes.”

“Going forward, consumers will continue to reflect on the role that brands play in their lives and the value they bring to the community. In 2021, brands need to be more agile, get a deeper understanding of new consumer behaviours and their evolving expectations, as we will witness consumers shifting towards brands that they trust. Keeping this in mind, we at PepsiCo India will continue to build campaigns with a redefined purpose and a high level of authenticity in storytelling,” she said.

Shailja Joshi PepsiCo