Sad Dogs, Happy Viewers in Lay’s Wavy Winner




Lay’s Wavy’s new ad is a great example of how to turn a minor insight into a winning commercial, and how to put the spotlight firmly on your product without sacrificing anything in terms of emotion.

The ad focuses on one particular characteristic of Lay’s Wavy chips – their shape makes them better for dipping, so, as the voiceover says, “you’ll spill less dip and break fewer chips.” So far so functional, but Lay’s bring that idea to life in an original and delightful way. Who would possibly object to a more efficient dipping chip? The members of the household who stand to lose the most from it: pet dogs.

The ad shows us a range of hungry hounds, pets who’ve been used to enjoying a significant extra snacking boost from their owners’ inefficient use of ordinary potato chips for dipping. Now the humans have switched to Lay’s Wavy, the dogs are going without. Just to rub it in, the music for the ad is Simple Minds’ 80s epic “(Don’t You) Forget About Me.”

It’s a smart ad because it takes an observation that doesn’t seem particularly valuable – dogs like eating chips off the floor – and flips it to make it the basis for a whole commercial. The sad faces of the dogs are both adorable and a brilliant way of indirectly proving the central product claim – you’ll get more dip with Lay’s Wavy. So the product is the hero of the ad, without having too much screen time and losing emotional impact.

Animals and melodic, nostalgic music are two elements which usually help boost emotional response, and here they’re used in ways which tie in perfectly with the message. The bombastic, upbeat nature of the song helps draw away any potential genuine sadness audiences might feel about the greedy pets.

A look at the Test Your Ad scores shows how well Lay’s have hit the target here. The ad scores a strong 4.6-Stars for long term potential to grow the brand, well above the average for the salty snacks category. And then it really takes off with its short-term Spike score and Brand Fluency – Exceptional in both cases. Even though the focus is on the dogs, there’s plenty of branding – including the Lays dips – to remind people who they’re watching.

Clever, funny, and heartwarming – an ad for everyone to enjoy (apart from those disappointed dogs!)

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