Among the range of snacks offered in supermarkets, large and small, most people have their own brand of potato chips. To me, it’s Pringles simply because of how easily it wraps it up so I don’t finish it all in one go.
Yeou Shen, while being a self-proclaimed potato chip lover, is also health conscious. He explained that he finds value in non-commercial, hand-made crisps made without preservatives, flavor enhancers and colorings.
Wanting to prove to Malaysians that crisps can be tasty without resorting to artificial flavors, he invested a seed capital of RM15,000 to launch his own brand of snacks, tudòs, named after the Chinese word for potato (土豆).
But what intrigued me the most about this business was not just its product, but its seemingly disconnected sexual branding that presumably takes food porn to the next level.
Just browse her Instagram page and you will find her products with flavors such as Slutty Salted Egg Yellow, Horny Salted Egg Yellow and Flirty Mala.
Was it supposed to be some kind of aphrodisiac?
Behind tudòs is graphic designer Yeou Shen and his ex-colleague copywriter Sim. Both have experience working in an advertising agency, and given their backgrounds, they told Vulcan Post that there is an old adage in the advertising and marketing world that sex sells.
Knowing this, the duo decided to use this as the marketing focus of tudòs to give their potato chip brand a way to stand out amid the space already crowded with brands like Kantin Lab, and many more.
Yeou Shen explained that food and sexuality have been linked in various ways throughout history.
Good food has neural pathways similar to those of good sex; the two are physically connected in the limbic system of the brain and they produce dopamine, the hormone that signals food cravings. Dopamine plays a huge role in humans and we don’t have any stronger desires than to eat and reproduce.
Yeou Shen, founder and creative director of tudòs.
While researching their target audience, Yeou Shen and Sim found that young city dwellers often have conversations around sex, whether it’s a serious discussion or harmless jokes.
They further argued that talking about sex in the 21st century should not be taboo. Indeed, having a comfortable communication on the subject helps to develop healthy attitudes towards sex and encourages responsible sexual behavior.
“These are the reasons the tudòs brand has been positioned in a more cheeky and sexual light,” they said. “To connect with our audience and bring the pleasure of sensual pleasure by eating a delicious bag of good quality crisps.”
The risk has paid off
As Malaysia is a conservative country with many people who may not accept a brand with a more gender identity, this can have repercussions.
Business partners agreed and understood that they might face backlash for their choice of a bold and provocative branding. However, after back-and-forth deliberations, they collectively decided to step out of a safe zone and take the creative risk.
“We try to draw attention to our brand and dispel the stigma of the conversation around sex in a humorous and light-hearted way, not vulgar,” the team assured.
And the risk has paid off. So far, Yeou Shen and Sim have reported that they have yet to receive negative feedback from customers regarding tudòs’ branding. This may mean that their buyers have so far come from a more open-minded group that also appreciates cheeky marketing.
As their customers are aligned with their initial target market, the duo were surprised to find that 80% of buyers were women, showing that this group is more receptive to the brand’s message.
That being said, the tudòs have had a tough time when it comes to public display.
“When we wanted to be featured in flea markets or bazaars, or when we were trying to boost our ads on Facebook or Instagram, we had a few minor issues that we knew would come,” said Yeou Shen.
He explained that while they are always looking for bazaars that can accommodate their brand’s message, they have been able to advertise on Instagram by reducing the copy used on paid ads. Otherwise, tudòs depends mainly on word of mouth marketing.
Learn the ropes of e-commerce
The tudòs products are sold individually for 25 RM per pack and in 3 types of lots:
- Gift box 138 (RM138) – 3 packs of tudòs chips with a bottle of wine and a limited edition tote bag;
- Snack box 90 (RM90) – 4 packets of tudòs chips;
- The 69 pack (RM69) – 3 packs of tudòs chips.
Since the brand is a side business and Yeou Shen’s first business, he explained that selling the snacks online has not been the easiest. Handling every element of e-commerce, from customer service to packaging and logistics, even caused her to miss an order or two.
“I’ve since learned to delegate and work on my planning and organizing skills,” said the 26-year-old.
4 months later, the 2 tudòs team attributes its decisive moment to its loyal customers who promote their chips.
They told us that most of their initial customers were just intrigued and amused by the cheeky branding and packaging. After tasting the tudòs crisps, they started to come back and referred the brand to their friends and family.
The team’s proudest moment for the company came on tudòs launch day, where they sold their initial stock and had to go into production immediately to keep up with demands.
So far, Yeou Shen and Sim have reported selling over 2,000 packs of Tudos chips since July 2021.
Still operating the home-based business, Yeou Shen hopes to relocate production to a larger facility in the near future as the business grows.
The duo also plan to expand their product offering with more potato chip flavors, other types of snacks and limited edition sets. In addition, they are working to expand delivery to East Malaysia and potentially Singapore as well.
- You can find out more about the tudòs here.
- You can read more about the Malaysian F&B brands we have covered. here.
Image Credit Featured: Yeou Shen, Founder and Creative Director of tudòs
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