Artificial Intelligence In Digital Marketing Course

Hashtags are a social media trend that everyone knows about, but what many of us don’t know is how a brand can use them to its advantage. 

Social media may be a popular mode of communication, but brands can take it a step further with the help of hashtags. These symbols are a shortcut to a specific conversation in a digital space. Hashtags make it easier to see what customers are saying when they say it, and when they mention your brand. Let us look into a campaign that ran around a fun and impressive hashtag – #SmileDekeDekho.

Lay’s, the potato chip brand from PepsiCo, had received great traction for its influencer outreach program on social media, which was part of its ‘Smile Deke Dekho’ campaign. Rolled out in October 2019 globally, Lay’s had been giving its packaging a quirky look to showcase how a smile could universally connect and convey a mood or emotion effortlessly.

The campaign saw Lay’s pursuing a massive influencer outreach program on social media, wherein they reached out to more than 750 celebrities, from Cricketer Shikhar Dhavan to influencers like Parth Samthaan, and Erica Jennifer Fernandes.


To further amplify this campaign, Lay’s had also rolled out a series of TVCs featuring brand ambassadors and youth icons Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Further, the launch of the Lay’s ‘Smile Deke Dekho’ musical, featuring Ranbir and Alia took the Internet by storm, recording a massive total of 120 million+ views and 60 million+ reach to date 

In addition to this, Lay’s also activated two unique challenges on TikTok, which resulted in more than 34 billion views and over 40K user-generated videos on the platform. The challenge urged users to share maximum smiles in less than 10 seconds, with the catch that the smile must be unique and different. It saw over 5 billion impressions and 10,000 user-generated content painting TikTok with Smiles through the fun challenge in a matter of just 72 hours. 

Let’s discuss how it worked for the brand, and how Lay’s took advantage of their biggest asset, their product packaging, to create a whirlwind in the online world.

The thought behind the #SmileDekeDekho campaign

As part of the campaign, the brand kicked off a mass influencer outreach program, wherein it mapped each influencer’s smile and matched it to various flavor variants. “We produced personalized packs, featuring the smiles of influencers that were then sent out, creating a money-can’t-buy experience for them,” explained Dilen Gandhi, Senior Director and Category Head at Foods, PepsiCo India.

He said the campaign stemmed from a simple idea that Lay’s brings a smile to ones’ face and a smile can lead to connections.

What made the campaign unique was the fact that the entire idea came to life through packaging – the first of its kind in India. While the campaign was introduced to India just a while back, it was already doing wonders in the global market for years. “We believed in the power of our global campaign and therefore decided to bring it to India as Lay’s Smile Deke Dekho, adding a twist to our flavor story by matching different kinds of smiles against different variants of Lay’s,” said Gandhi.






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A post shared by Lay’s India (@lays_india)



The objective behind the Smile Deke Dekho campaign was clear and concise. They wanted to create another way for the brand to spread smiles, while also creating engagement amid the consumers. Released on 4th October, World Smile Day, it was a strategically timed campaign brought to India. “The launch of the social media campaign was timed during the festive season to drive more conversations online,” claimed Gandhi. 

Their aim was to be closer to their consumers and generate massive engagement.

How it was executed

The Smile Deke Dekho campaign achieved over 185 million impressions for Lay’s with an engagement of approximately 7.2 million across social media. According to Gandhi, the campaign witnessed 75% of the outreach being completely organic.

To start with, their hashtag was super unique and catchy, I mean, anyone can read #SmileDekeDekho and it lingers on the mind for a longer time. Moreover, the brand ambassadors were the newest couple in B-town, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. They featured in the TVCs which was the key to taking the campaign to a far wider audience with more precise targeting.

Smiling right back at you @lays_India 😁😜 #SmileDekeDekho

— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) October 4, 2019


Lay’s initially reached out to 750+ influencers and shared the limited edition packages with them. Influencers like Kusha Kapila, Shikhar Dhawan, Anmol Parashar, Fatima Sana Khan, and many other TikTok stars as well as young TV actors and actresses were in the run too. 

The limited-edition packages given to the influencers by Lay’s matched and mapped each influencer’s smile and matched it to the flavor that fit them perfectly and then the personalized packages were produced which featured the smile of these 750+ influencers. 

Post the mega-announcement by the brand ambassadors and the personalized packages sent to the influencers to pose with, the campaign kicked off instantly! Everyone went crazy on Instagram to post a picture and pose with the Lay’s packet and the hashtag #SmileDekeDekho. 

This idea really kicked off well! The “Pick up the pack. Pose. Post” became famous and went viral.


Lay’s was able to generate great results that not only involved extensive visibility but also brought everyone together to share a smile. It led to massive consumer interactions, with people creating memes about it and also clicking selfies to be a part of the #SmileDekeDekho trend.

The results of the campaign were abundantly clear:

  • 750+ influencers from across genres and regions
  • 185 million impressions
  • 8.2 million engagement
  • 1300+ social media features 

When asked how the brand’s marketing strategy had evolved over the years, Gandhi said, “We are one step ahead when it comes to innovation or integrating technology in our communication. We have realized that people are becoming more digital. Hence, PepsiCo is massively shifting to digital.”

The brand has been growing strongly at double-digit and this growth would be further accelerated on the back of value addition in the pack, increasing the footprint through new stores as well as a local adaptation of the global campaign, he concluded.