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Jays vs. Lay's, Part II

By Margaret Lyons in Food on Jul 23, 2004 6:55PM

2004_07_23.jays.jpgUpdate on the Chip War: Lay’s is so busted! A federal judge has ordered Frito-Lay to remove its controversial billboard immediately. It appears that Frito-Lay’s alleged Chicago taste tests actually occurred at malls in Joliet, Niles and Elgin. While Frito-Lay maintains that those involved in the taste-test were Chicago residents, the documentation that could prove their assertion is in a New York office recently damaged in a fire. Uh, likely story, Frito-Lay. We’re on to you.

U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said, "Lay's appears to be motivated by greed in displaying and airing advertisements which are not only damaging to Jays but are deceiving to the public.” He added that he found “Lay's misleading advertisement in identifying Jays potato chips as unflavored not only unsavory but totally tasteless.” Hey, that’s funny. For a federal judge. Frito-Lay has to stop all advertising that identifies the results of the ill-fated test.

The taste tests showed that of 300 participants, 55 percent preferred Lays and 41 percent preferred Jay’s. And 4 percent couldn’t decide? Margin of error? Jays attorneys claimed that the Lay’s chips were specially produced and shipped in from Baltimore, while the Jays chips were old and crumbled. Wow, who knew chips were so competitive? This is like an eighth-grade kissing contest.

But have no fear, chip consumers: the Sun-Times is on the case. They conducted a taste test with…6 people. All 6 preferred Lay’s. We’re not food scientists or market researchers or anything, but uh, are 6 people really enough for a taste test? Like for a newspaper and not a science project? You can conduct a 6-person taste test in a dorm room or a car. Perhaps a little Chicagoist taste testing is in order?