Music helps cut through clutter, embeds tagline in culture: Saumya Rathor on Lay's latest campaign

Speaking to about Lay's' magnum opus #IseyKehteHainPyaar, Saumya Rathor, Category Lead- Potato Chips, PepsiCo, emphasised that despite the initial plan of taking the campaign live in November, it was postponed due to Ranbir Kapoor's Animal and the timing of featuring a mother-son duo in contrast to the mega success of the movie just feels right and a stroke of luck

Shreya Negi
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Music helps cut through clutter, embeds tagline in culture: Saumya Rathor on Lay's latest campaign

Saumya Rathor

After a hiatus of nearly four years, PepsiCo’s snacking brand Lay’s has come up with a new magnum opus- ‘Isey Kehte Hain Pyaar’ campaign which features brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor alongside Neetu Kapoor in a fun banter over a packet of Lay’s.

Speaking to on the launch of the campaign, Saumya Rathor, Category Lead- Potato Chips, PepsiCo India, stated that while the last campaign featuring the core or classic flavours of Lay’s was rolled out in 2019 and since then the brand has been mainly focussed on innovations which is why the thought was to rekindle the love for the core flavours in 2024.

“We at PepsiCo constantly keep our ears close to the ground to understand what the consumers are saying and what we’ve found out is that consumers have always had deep affection towards the core flavours of the offering. In fact, we’ve even heard many of them refer to the core flavours as Mera Wala Blue or Mera Wala Green and so on,” she said.

Furthermore, she also mentioned that this year, the brand has decided to rekindle that love for the brand, which in her view has been a part of almost everyone’s growing up, via their big thematic idea that’s not just the product truth and brand truth, but is true to the love that consumers have for Lay’s owing to its taste and feel.

“Comprising four brand films, this is going to be our main campaign this year for Lay’s which will run for the next 11 weeks across both broadcast and narrowcast mediums including TV and Print, and Digital and Social Media platforms, respectively. That being said, we’ll continue to have our legacy position in cricket through our Maahi starrer- No Lay’s, No Games amongst others,” Rathor added.

The campaign:

Conceptualised by PepsiCo India’s creative AOR, Leo Burnett, along with Vivek Kakkad, Founder and Director at Curious Films, the campaign film showcases a witty yet relatable and light-hearted tug-of-war between the real-life mother-son duo in a snack showdown for the ultimate prize- a bag of Lay's chips for its magnetic pull of signature taste puts even the strongest bonds to test, proving that no one willingly surrenders their prized packet of Lay's.

While it was the creative AOR, Leo Burnett who played a crucial role in crafting the strategic framework, it was Kakkad who came up with the campaign idea, and penned down the tagline and the witty scripts of the four films, one of which has already went live on the official handles of the brand.

The debut film of the campaign opens with the brand ambassador, Ranbir Kapoor, playing the role of a perfect son assisting his mother Neetu Kapoor with daily chores. However, a few moments later she does find out that the packet of Lay’s which was initially left in Ranbir’s care goes missing.

But, it is in the last scene of the TVC that Ranbir, who until then had been a dutiful son, brings out the hidden Lay’s packet from behind the sofa cushions, revealing it with a cheeky smile and a contented bite, the TVC ends up with him saying, ‘Isey Kehte Hain Pyaar’.

During the 60-second ad film, what runs quite prominently in the background is the iconic Lata Mangeshkar song- ‘Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj Hai Tu’ until Ranbir puts into forefront the tagline.

Commenting on why has music been used for most parts of the TVC except for the tagline, Rathor stated that since brands like Lay’s need to break the clutter, it is music which does justice to it. Also, music in her opinion, is a great reminder which reinforces the message more strongly.

“I'm a big believer of playing music from a film perspective because when you're creating a thematic campaign like this and you want consumers to pick the tagline up from ads and use it in culture and make them seep into the regular conversations, you need to not just establish but also highlight the tagline,” she added.

On the face of it, the choice of the song gels well with the depiction of the mother-son bond in the brand film.

Giving a sneak peek into what went behind the scenes of the newly launched ad campaign, Rathor emphasised that while the plan was to work on and launch the campaign in November but then the same had to be postponed because of Animal.

“Now, seeing the roaring success of his film, I feel that the timing of our campaign is just right because we have got the country's biggest star showcased in a very sweet and endearing relationship with his mother, which is in contrast to what he had done in Animal wherein his equation and bond with his on-screen father was very strong. But we’ve been really good with our campaign’s timing even though it has just been a stroke of luck!” she remarked.

When questioned on how the choice of the stars featured in the campaign goes along with the target audience of the product, Rathor emphasised that even though the brand is more skewed towards the younger lot in terms of targeting, whenever a packet of Lay’s opens, it’s not just consumed by one but almost all of the people in the room. 

In fact, Lay’s, in her view, is one of the few brands that have a very transversal strategy which doesn’t just stop at one cohort and transcends to people regardless of their age.

“This is why the campaign has also been crafted in such a manner that even when a youngster sees it, he or she will have five stories to tell about what the individual does with his/her family, friends, etc. But at the core, we feel that it's a story which would resonate with a youngster for its relatable take,” she opined.

Before assuming her current role at PepsiCo India, she was largely associated with the company’s beverage side of things as Category Lead-Pepsi Cola during which she executed campaigns and anthems like Rise Up Baby! And Check My Fizz amongst others.

Upon being questioned on how has the transition from leading the beverage category to now helming the Potato Chips category been for her, Rathor replied that while Pepsi has always been a ‘culture curator’, moving on from the brand to lead Lay’s, she feels immense gratitude, because the two of them, to her, seem to be some of the best brands in the world.

“Moving from Pepsi, i.e- the culture curator, to Lay's which is such a love mark and memory maker that everyone has their own Lay’s story to share and for someone who’s in love with the world of marketing and brands, one can throw me anywhere and I would just passionately work from a category perspective. Also, I believe that as long as one stays true to the consumer who is the North Star or guiding light, life seems very simple,” she emphasised.

Throwing light on how the brand is foreseeing the category’s growth in the times to come, Rathor highlighted that given the fact that India is a big snacking market and Indians love stocking various kinds of snacking products at their home, she feels that there's so much opportunity for Lay’s to capitalise on.

That being said, she also mentioned that in her views, the year 2024 is going to be a big year from a momentum perspective for Lay’s and therefore the brand has outlined bullish expansion plans on retail and in-home penetration to cater to and facilitate the upswing in the category.

For driving the latter, the brand, as per Rathor, is also focused on finding out and creating more occasions of consumption and tapping into quick commerce channels further to reduce the friction in consumption patterns therein.

Concludingly, she also mentioned, "We all know that love doesn't always conquer all, especially when there's a bag of Lay's involved. We've all been there – staring down a bag of Lay's, contemplating whether to share or savour in delicious solitude. Our latest campaign taps into this behaviour, showcasing how the love for Lay's can even challenge the strongest connections, brilliantly depicted by Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor. This film is just the appetizer; brace yourselves for an epic snack showdown between them, promising suspense, laughter, and unexpected twists. Love, loyalty, and a bag of Lay's - the ultimate test awaits in this series that will have you on the edge of your seat.”

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