Monday, November 29, 2021
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Malaysian adman markets gourmet potato chips tudòs building on age old saying ‘sex sells’

There is an old adage in the advertising and marketing world, “sex sells”. While using sexual references and innuendos…

By Staff , in Ecommerce Marketing , at November 26, 2021


There is an old adage in the advertising and marketing world, “sex sells”. While using sexual references and innuendos can be controversial in marketing or advertising, some brands still continue to tread the thin line. One such brand in Malaysia, is home-grown gourmet potato chips brand, tudòs which aims to captivate with its bold, creative and cheeky packaging. 

Having spent years in adland, the founder of tudòs, Yeou Shen Ho who also is still currently working as a motion graphic designer in OLIVER agency, said that food and sexuality have been connected in various ways throughout history. Currently, tudòs packaging teases elements such as “slutty salted egg yolk”, “horny salted egg yolk”, “naughty truffle” and “flirty mala”  in its packaging.

Speaking to A+M, Yeou said the human desire for food and sex are basic needs in the foundation of human nature. “Sex is as natural to us human beings as eating and breathing. We are living in the 21st century, talking about sex should not be a taboo, having comfortable communication about sexual topics helps develop healthy attitudes toward sex and encourage responsible sexual behaviour,” Yeou said.

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As a self-proclaimed chips lover, Yeou is also conscious of the health risks associated with the snack, which led to his venture into the potato chips scene in July 2021, where he began selling his version of potato chips. Translating from the Chinese words, 土豆 (potato), the potato chips are handcrafted in small batches and made with premium and all-natural ingredients. Yeou claims that his products also do not include preservatives, colouring or flavour enhancers. 

With consumers being health conscious today, wouldn’t the healthier factors alone impress them? What was the need for such cheeky packaging? We asked Yeou.

Yeou shared that he chose to brand his potato chips in a cheeky and provocative manner to connect with the audience. His second reason was it was to bring the enjoyment of sensual pleasure when “eating a bag of good quality chips”. He claims that good food has similar neuro pathways as good sex, as both are physically connected in the limbic system of the brain and it brings out dopamine – a hormone that signals cravings.

He added, “Dopamine plays a huge part in humans; we have no stronger desires than to eat and reproduce.”

Building his marketing on research, Yeou also claims that tudòs conducted its own psychographic research of its target audience and discovered that more young urbanites today do not shy away from having conversations around the topic of sex. In fact, the topic of sex is now more seriously discussed amongst individuals and acts as a form of harmless banter when communicating with friends.

Nonetheless, many brands still shy away from the topic given the room for potential backlash – especially in more conservative markets. “We do understand that Malaysia is a culturally and religiously conservative country and that we might face backlash for such a bold and provocative branding concept,” he said. 

Working with his ex-colleague, Yoke Sim (pictured below),  who was an experienced copywriter from Japan dance record company, AvexGroup, the pair sought to change the perception and venture out of the safe zone with its creativity. With his gourmet chips tudòs and its bold packaging, Yeou in fact, wanted to draw attention to dispel the stigma of having a conversation around sex – and do so in a humorous and light-hearted manner.

“I think we should not be afraid of backlash because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s impossible to please everyone. In business, as in life, we need to take some calculated risks. In this case, we stepped out of the creative comfort zone, took the risk and it paid off,” added Yeou. 

flirtymala

Aside from social media marketing, the brand also relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. Initially, many consumers were drawn by its provocative branding even before tasting its chips. However, today there is a healthy staple of consumers who help spread the name of the brand through word of mouth marketing, said Yeou.

Presently with the challenge of a limited marketing budget, it is focusing on social media marketing.  Yeou also banks heavily on social media for its commerce with Instagram and Facebook being a platform of purchase. According to him, social media is currently the most cost-effective channel for small businesses like his. In fact, not only does this method increases brand awareness, but it also brings in more sales through its higher conversion rates. The brand is also currently exploring several sales channels and will be offering its products on other eCommerce sites in the future, he added. Currently, tudòs has sold more than 2,000 packets of chips.

Though the chips brand has yet to receive any negative feedback, Yeou admits he does faces challenges especially when it comes to advertising on social media platforms or finding a willing bazaar to set up a booth for marketing purposes. For instance, when it comes to public exposure, it was relatively hard to be featured in a flea market or a bazaar. Similarly, when it came to boosting its ads on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, the gourmet chip brand faced challenges due to its sensitive and provocative brand messages.

“Another challenge that I encountered when I first started my brand was time and business management. It was not easy juggling a full-time job and building a business from the ground up without any prior experience of running a business. Needless to say, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons through trials and errors,” he explained. 

When asked if the latest Libresse vulva-inspired campaign which was pulled down rang alarm bells for him, the gourmet chip founder said he was quite disappointed to see the country’s reaction towards it. “Libresse’s intention to roll out the campaign was just for education and awareness purposes,” he explained. Nonetheless, Yeou remains positive about his ability to cut through the clutter and put his years in advertising into good use. He says, a key reason that prompted him to finally take the plunge, was to fulfill his own entrepreneurial aspirations.

“I know that getting my hands dirty (metaphorically speaking) is the best way to learn the ins and outs of running a business, which is something that I never had the chance to learn in my full-time job working as a designer in an advertising agency.”

Power up your PR and communications efforts today with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s PR Asia Week on 1 and 2 December. Learn ways to build an evidence-based practice, up the ante on your strategies, and be head and shouldersabove your competition. Click here to register today!

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Libresse MY pulls vulva-inspired ad campaign after backlash from religious organisation
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