With sales in the category growing an anemic 1.51 percent, potato chip marketers are increasingly using sponsorship to gain a point of differentiation and offset competition from healthier snacking options.

Recent deals include Lay’s and the Color Run 5K series, Kettle Brand and the Meadows Music & Arts Festival and Uncle Ray’s and Minor League Baseball.

Below, five tips on selling the potato chip category:

Provide platforms for retail promotions. Potato chip brands frequently use sponsorship to access IP, tickets and other asserts that can be used to drive excitement in the supermarket aisle.

Uncle Ray’s, for example, promotes Minor League Baseball on millions of packages, while PepsiCo has leveraged the NBA with the “Ruffles Home Court Advantage,” a promotion that offered consumers the opportunity to win a fan cave makeover and other prizes when their favorite team wins at home.

Consumers entered the promotion by entering a package code on a dedicated microsite and selecting their favorite team.

Offer content for social amplification. Like other companies, snack food makers look to activate sponsorship with digital and/or social media content.

Ruffles, for example, supports the majority of retail promotions around its NBA sponsorship with digital and social extensions.

Case in point: Ruffles this month activated the NBA and Black History Month with “Team Up for Change,” a promotion that offered fans the opportunity to win tickets to an NBA game for themselves and their friends and family.

Consumers entered the promotion by submitting their “star line-up” (people who support them in life) on a dedicated web site and sharing the info on social media. Ruffles made a donation to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for each submission.

Ruffles is putting the final touches on a promotion dubbed “Couch to Courtside” that will run through the NBA Playoffs and Finals.

Offer sales rights. Potato chip companies sometimes leverage sponsorship to access on-site sales rights. Minor League Baseball secured Uncle Ray’s in large part by offering sales opportunities in MiLB ballparks.

Provide sampling opportunities. Potato chip companies frequently use sponsorship to promote their latest flavors and products. Kettle, for example, activated the Meadows music festival with the Kettle Chips Tent.

Consider regional brands. While Lay’s, Ruffles and Pringles dominate the national landscape, the rest of the category is largely comprised of regional brands.

Utz, for example, is a prominent brand in the Northeastern U.S., while Golden Flake is dominant brand in the Southern U.S. Utz acquired Golden Flake in 2016.

The Top Ten Brands In The Potato Chip Category
The Top Ten Brands In The Potato Chip Category
Sales in supermarkets, drug stores, mass market retailers, gas/c-stores, military commissaries and select club and dollar stores in the 52-weeks ending Jan. 22, 2017, per IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.