Putting potato chips between slices of bread, aka the "crisp sandwich," has long been renowned as a lazy lunchtime option by U.K. consumers, although to foodies the idea is arguably anathema. Now Frito-Lay's potato chip brand Walkers is hoping to start up a debate about "crisp sandwiches," in the latest attempt by a food brand to use quirky food combinations to stir up interest.
The spot, directed by James Rouse of Outsider for agency VCCP, depicts a series of characters young and old, from teenagers hanging out to a smartly dressed man in a fancy restaurant and a businesswoman in a meeting, putting chips between slices of bread, to the incredulity, disgust or admiration of their friends, colleagues or spouses.
Walkers is inviting people to air their own views on the acceptability of crisp sandwiches on social media with the hashtag #CrispIn or #CrispOut. It's hoping to tap into the lunchtime sandwich market as the U.K. heads back to offices after lockdown, and the campaign also includes a partnership with Subway, in which for a limited period customers will able to choose to add Walkers Ready Salted Crisps as a topping on any sub, wrap or salad.
"Having conducted the biggest research into crisp sandwiches, this campaign has been inspired by our consumers and their habitual behaviors," said Fernando Kahane, senior marketing director at Walkers, in a statement. “Lockdown has given us a greater appreciation for how crisps can brighten up yet another homemade sandwich. As the country slowly start to head back to the office, the key part of the day is lunch—so whether Brits continue to make their sandwiches from scratch, or buy out, we want to encourage them to voice their thoughts—are they #crispIN or #crispOUT?”
It's a new approach for Walkers, which until last year had centered its advertising around a long running campaign starring former England soccer captain Gary Lineker via its agency of two decades, AMV BBDO. In 2020 it parted ways with AMV, appointing VCCP following a pitch, and the new advertising follows the agency's debut work starring comedian Asim Chaudhry.
However, it follows a trend for packaged food brands using quirky food combinations to stir up interest in recent years (think Kraft's Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese or candy flavor, while Marmite has also tried to boost sales with unusual flavors like Dynamite Chilli). A new U.K. ad out for McDonald's this week also shows a woman combining foods by stuffing a hash brown in an Egg McMuffin.