while Walkers has been spending millions on advertising since July last year to maintain consumers' interest in its Do us a Flavour campaign, it has also been working hard to ensure independent retailers are kept engaged.

The latest activity to help bring the campaign alive for retailers has been visits to cash and carry depots by the life-size characters representing the six flavours competing to be chosen in May.

Walkers selected depots to give it a wide geographic spread and high footfall, calling at: Batleys, West Bromwich; Booker, Port Dundas in Glasgow; BA Cash & Carry in Cardiff; and Bestway's Park Royal depot in London. The tour culminated in an appearance at the Convenience Retailing Show in Birmingham earlier this month.

As well as the character appearances, there were special displays of the products and retailers could nominate their favourite flavour, with one entrant from each event winning £100 cash and £400-worth of stock.

Scott Snell, business unit director at PepsiCo, says the events were intended as a fun way to involve retailers in the campaign, but also give them more information about it and some of the material available to support it. One of the keys, he says, is giving retailers the tools to deliver a high rate of sale, and in stores that means stacker units and pre-merchandised clip strips.

The clip strips contain eight bags of crisps attached to sticky strips, and can be suspended anywhere in the store from a hook. Each case contains three flavours (two clip strips of each). Snell says this allows retailers to cover all the flavours in the Do us a Flavour promotion with just two cases. "This means there is a better rate of sale with less financial commitment from the retailer," he says.

Paul Rabone, depot manager of Batleys West Bromwich - the first depot visited by the roadshow - says: "It was a great success. We had a 20% uplift in sales of the products compared with the launch week. It was something different, good fun, and it got the message across."

Rizwan Afzal

Flames All in One, Glasgow

"We're in an area with houses around, but also a railway station and two bus stops, so get a mix of locals and passing trade. We sell a lot of crisps and at least 50% are Walkers. Customers have been really interested in Do us a Flavour because it is something a bit different. They come in and try the flavours and it gets people talking."

Asim Baig & Kyrsty Evans

Phoenix Filling Station, Glasgow

"We have a wide range of customers. There are locals but also regular passing trade, from builders to lawyers and parents taking their children on the school run.

"We have a big Walkers display and we are visited by reps every two to four weeks. They help to keep the range tidy and let me know what's being planned.

"With Do us a Flavour we have the promotional displays as well as samples on the counter so customers can try the different flavours."