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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 10, October 2011, Posted On: 9/23/2011

Lay's Vender Turns Potato Into Bag Of Chips - Sort Of

Emily Jed
Lay's potato chip vending machine, vending, vending machine, PepsiCo, Buenos Aires supermarket, Lay's vending machine in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- PepsiCo is putting a unique spin on product sampling with a vending machine that appears to manufacture Lay's potato chips before the patron's eyes. The patron drops a real potato, rather than coins, into a slot.

The vender will make its debut in a Buenos Aires supermarket this fall, according to Ad Age magazine. It takes the patron through the potato chip manufacturing process via a life-like one-minute video that makes it appear as if the chips are being made in the machine.

The video shows the potato passing through a system of tubes, flames and boiling water, progressing through six steps: washing, peeling, cutting, cooking, salting and packaging. Lights on the machine highlight a list of the steps of washing through packaging as the video shows the corresponding action. A heater at the bottom of the machine warms each free sample bag of Lay's potato chips before it pops out of the machine, playing into the illusion that the product was just cooked inside the machine.

Marketing representatives at the supermarket will hand shoppers real potatoes with stickers inviting them to take the potato and insert it in the Lay's machine by the snack aisle and watch it be made into potato chips, according to Ad Age.

Plans call for the Lay's machine to remain in one supermarket for a week or two before moving to a new location. PepsiCo said it will consider expanding the Lay's machines globally once it sees how they work in Argentina.

The Lay's machine is part of a larger marketing push to emphasize that Lay's is made entirely of real potatoes, oil and salt. Redesigned packaging that shows real potatoes is part of the campaign.

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