The marketing effort includes a 45-second ad showing a time lapse of the 100% biodegradable bag decomposing over 14 weeks. It will run once on "American Idol" on Tuesday -- the day before Earth Day -- followed by a home-page takeover on various social/video Web sites, primarily YouTube the day after.
"We actually have video out on a few different blog sites today, but the big marketing push will be next Tuesday," Thomas Oh, director of the SunChips brand, tells Marketing Daily. He says the company is the first in the convenience-food industry to introduce such packaging.
Print ads running in People will include samples of the new biodegradable material. Oh says SunChips has also begun a national point-of-purchase effort in grocery stores this week with pamphlets containing swatches of the material -- made of polylactic acid (trade name Ingeo) with instructions on how to compost it.
The campaign will be extended after Earth Day through a participation initiative via a partnership with National Geographic. A digital campaign -- centering on the video -- will direct people to GreenEffect.com, where they can submit an account of steps they or their community groups are taking toward a sustainable lifestyle.
"In partnership with National Geographic, we will select the top five ideas and fund each $20,000 to implement," says Oh. The submission period opens on Earth Day and runs through June 8. In July, people can vote online among applicants. They will choose one winner, and a judging panel will choose the other four. All will be featured in National Geographic later in the year and invited to the publication's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The print, TV and digital advertising includes a callout on the front panel of the current 10½ -ounce size SunChips package: "Renewable materials make up 33% of this bag."
Meanwhile, Frito-Lay recently launched a separate print campaign for SunChips and -- also timed with Earth Day -- a new TV spot that launched on cable and prime time this week about the company's solar-energy initiatives at the Modesto, Calif. SunChips plant.
Oh says the choice of making SunChips the first brand to get the new packaging was easy. "Our consumers very much want a healthier snack, and we realized a couple of years ago that those same consumers have an interest in what's healthy for the planet," he says. "From an organizational standpoint, SunChips is the lead brand for communications around sustainability initiatives."
The company plans to make packaging for all of its chips out of the new material. "Right now, we are literally inventing the technology, and there is just not enough material in existence for the entire portfolio. As we continue to develop and invest behind technology, the economies of scale will enable this to be spread across the rest [of Frito Lay's product line]," says Oh.
Several agencies are involved with the program. For advertising and media, Juniper Park and OMD, respectively; The Marketing Arm developed in-store; Hornall Anderson created packaging art. Ketchum is handling PR for the program and Zocalo Group is doing a word-of-mouth program.