CINCINNATI – Can you imagine going to the office vending machine during your lunch break to get a delicious cheese coney?
Alright, the idea of eating a pre-made coney might seem a little disgusting to some. But having the chance to eat a tiny hot dog smothered in Cincinnati-style chili and the traditional fixings anytime you want sounds pretty amazing, right?
Participants in the contest, which began Jan. 13, get to submit their ideas for the next big thing in potato chips and possibly win $1 million. Enrollment of the Web-based competition ends April 5.
Of course, making an amazing snack food takes a lot more than coming up with a name and a theme.
Submissions require a recipe that includes a flavor profile that has up to three ingredients and a chip style. Your choices include wavy, kettle cooked and the ever-popular original.
The Wingerbergs went with chili, cheese, and the disturbingly named "hotdog flavor." They also decided to place their theoretical treat on a wavy chip -- making it the perfect edible utensil for Cincinnati Chili dip.
All contestants get to design the way their chips are packaged. That includes picking the look of the name, the color palette and the main image on the bag.
Sadly, the picture portion of the contest is one area where it falls short, according to Megan. The couple had to use a bowl of chili, rather than the iconic image of the coney, due to limited options.
“The photo is a generated photo that Lay's provides. You are able to chose the color and pick from a few foods for the bag. Unfortunately, they only had chili pictures to chose from and no coneys,” she said.
In addition to playing to voters eyes and stomachs, the contestants need to find a way to compel the public to vote for their creation.
Each entry requires the inspiration behind the flavor (in 140 characters or less). If you click on the Wingerbergs' page, you'll read: "Cheese coneys are huge in Cincinnati and should be everywhere! Everyone would love these chips! #yummy #coneys."
You'll see comments like, "OMG!!!!!!! MUST HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" from Roni Dawn Robbins and "oh so good" from Carla Hartman Williams. Russ Smitty loves the idea of the chip but would prefer it in a non-wavy form.
I guess you can't please everyone.
While the contest might seem playful to some, the Wingerbergs take it rather seriously. The couple has created an official Twitter handle (@cheeseconeylays ) to promote their submission as well as a Gmail account, which is apparently for all the attention they plan to receive.
“In the official rules Lay’s states that you can promote through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest,” said Megan, who kicked off the Twitter campaign for her flavor Sunday. You can also vote using Tumblr and Google-plus. “We are hoping to become finalists and earn as many votes as we can!”
The top four entrants whose entries receive the highest cumulative scores across all styles of potato chips will be deemed the finalists and advance to the "Contest Voting Period."
What does that mean? It means those chips will be tasted by thousands of junk-food lovers across the country.
The four “Finalist Flavors” will be developed and produced as a limited time offering by Lay’s and offered for retail sale beginning on or around July 28, 2014. The sampling portion of the contest ends Oct. 18, 2014.
You can vote for the Cincinnati-inspired flavor (or create your own) at the following link: https://www.dousaflavor.com/#!/flavors .