Tough-to-Swallow Snack Promotion Goes Down Well

Mexico: Sabritas Cash

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NEW YORK ( -- Seeking a promotion that would appeal to recession-hit consumers, PepsiCo's Mexican subsidiary Sabritas decided to simply stuff cash into Doritos, Tostitos, Ruffles and other snack packaging.

It was a hit. During the promotion, which started in January, sales were up 18% by value and 20% by units, said Francisco Jimenez, Sabritas' marketing director.

In Mexican slang, lana means cash, so the promotion was dubbed "Sabrilana," or "Sabritas Cash." Almost $4 million in 20-, 50-, 100- and 1,000-peso bills was tucked into snack bags, Mr. Jimenez said.

The basic promise was that one of every two snack packages contained a prize. To remove the incentive for shoppers to simply forage for cash by tearing bags open in the store, and to keep the promotion affordable, the vast majority of packs contained a coupon for a free Sabritas product.

"Sabrilana was tailor-made to face a harsh first quarter, where the global crisis was going to hit the Mexican consumer hard," he said.

Within three weeks, 83% of consumers were aware of the promotion, and the coupon-redemption rate was over 40%, Mr. Jimenez said. The promotion also broadened Sabritas' appeal among older consumers.

To call attention to the promotion, snack bags were wrapped with a bright-blue strip that proclaimed "Cash! More than 47 million pesos in cash! Sabrilana." The company also did a TV, print and outdoor campaign. In the spots, featuring two popular Mexican comedians, one man shows the other a 20-peso bill he won in a Sabritas bag. The second man is amazed, and after some banter, a voice-over explains how the promotion works.

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division said it recently introduced products from its Sabritas subsidiary in select U.S. Hispanic markets.

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