truth in packaging
Posted by Emma Cofer on November 11, 2010 01:00 PM
When Sun Chips launched its compostable, eco-friendly bag, the innovation created more of a stir than anticipated—and not the kind Frito-Lay had hoped for. Critics, from disgruntled consumers to media opinionators, joined forces to rally against the bag, forcing the company into what appeared to be a quick retreat. Sun Chips promised to desist their sustainable noisemaking and work toward a quieter option, for later release.
But how loud is the bag, really? So loud that we’d rather hurt the planet than deal with the din? While American media raged (perhaps to be heard over the cacophony of Sun Chips bags), our neighbors north of the border stayed quiet. Perhaps it was manners, perhaps even disinterest—but Frito-Lay took advantage of Canadians’ tacit approval to spin general discontent into a brilliant marketing scheme.
While the Sun Chips website insists, “Our compostable bag is still here,” the Sun Chips Canada Facebook page takes matters a step further, building an online community around the troublesome bag and positioning it as a hero of the green movement. Sun Chips has also released a YouTube video from Frito-Lay Canada’s Sustainability Leader (see video at top) that specifically addresses Canadians, ending with a no-nonsense reality check: “So the tradeoff is pretty clear: A little more noise for a little less waste and a little more green.”
For sustainability-minded consumers who still can’t handle the ruckus, Frito-Lay Canada has a playful solution. As part of their new “Feel the Noise” campaign around the compostable bag, they invite fans and haters alike to send them a 50-words-or-less statement about “why you’re happy to be making some noise about helping the environment” in exchange for a free pair of earplugs. The clear message? Building a sustainable world may involve some changes to our habits and preferences as consumers. Sun Chips is wisely positioning itself as a brand that’s willing to embrace small, aesthetically unpleasant changes in favor of big-picture improvements to our collective habits. And in Canada, consumers are ready to hush up about the hullabaloo in support of that stance.