You know them as Cup o’ Noodles, the Styrofoamy,
hot flavored goodness that gets you through your college days,
but they are actually called CUP NOODLES.
College students keep a 24-pack under their bed, and they’re
always welcome on a cold day. Soup is comforting no matter
the style, but there’s something special about this product:
Nissin Cup Noodles.
Momofuku Ando began the company as part of a humble family operation back in 1948. Faced with sparse food
sources after World War II, Mr. Ando realized that a quality, convenient ramen product would help to feed the
masses. His goal was to create a satisfying ramen that could be eaten anywhere, anytime. In 1958, Nissin
introduced “Chicken Ramen”, the first instant ramen. There have been loads of imitators since.
Nissin Cup Noodle just celebrated 50 years! And sadly, Ando, died last year also.
Cup Noodles has popularity all over the world, they are manufactured in 29 plants located in 11 countries and
consumed in over 70 countries worldwide. Ando always instilled a sense of commitment and quality in Nissin
products. Today, Nissin’s corporate philosophy inspires this same commitment to taste, convenience, and quality.
Ando’s own image became very important for the brand. Get to know him! He is known for once saying:
“Making the impossible possible. One of my plans for our company is to double the number of ‘eccentrics’ in
Nissin Foods. As a manufacturer, we must continue to make new breakthroughs. We must ‘make the
impossible possible,’ and common-sense individuals often can’t accomplish this. Breakthroughs can only be
achieved by those who are a bit eccentric. Organizations, however, necessarily aim at efficiency, and eccentrics,
who may only work one week out of a year, tend to vanish from the organization. When the chips are down,
though, these people are capable of great feats. Corporate leadership must find and keep these valuable human
resources. By ‘encouraging eccentrics’ we can achieve our impossible dreams.”
Momofuku Ando says:
Use your noodle and make some noodles!
Instant gratification in a cup! Just add hot water and go from hungry to happy in record time! Makes a quick, satisfying
light lunch, meal, or snack. They’re perfect for emergency relief, and even astronauts carry vacuum-sealed versions.
The product is known for being inexpensive and easy to prepare. – 1 cup costs from $.59 to $1.29 (depending on store).
In many cases, when you choose an instant product, you may sacrifice quality for the sake of convenience. This is not the
case for Cup Noodles. Nissin offers top quality ingredients, including real vegetables.
Visit the Nissin Cup Noodles site: http://www.nissinfoods.com/cupnoodles/
Cup Noodles - Much More Than a Soup.
In the U.S. there are 20 flavors of cup noodles: (different flavors are available in other parts of the world)
Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, Roast Chicken, Chicken Vegetable, Cheddar Cheese, Creamy Chicken, Hearty
Chicken, Spicy Roast Beef, Spicy Roast Chicken, Shrimp Picante Style, Spicy Chile Chicken, Spicy Keesh
Vegetable, Salsa Picante Beef, Salsa Picante Chicken, Salsa Picante Shrimp, Natural Beef (coming soon),
Natural Chicken (coming soon), Natural Shrimp (coming soon), Chile con Limon
Cup noodle ads have been very cheap, corny, and weird.
Most ads have been for TV, but here are a couple print:
Find most all of their TV ads here:
We want to create a new campaign that
will be simple, like the concept of the
packaged noodles themselves, but also
relevant to those who purchase this food.
They did have a super-cool
“Smoking Nissin Cup Noodles” ad
on Times Square from 1996 – 2006:
Target Audience and Insights:
What we’re asking in this campaign is.. WHY? Why do they eat it?
We are in a time of economic and emotional downturn and uncertainty. People are sacrificing (learning to) for the long-
term. We want to use what founder Ando stated (see page 1) about making the impossible possible as the central theme
for this campaign. People are living in a time where their dreams may seem impossible with all the turmoil that is sur-
rounding us. And making the impossible possible is what Nissin Company is all about! We will tell the public that they can
achieve their dreams, and it makes sense to eat Cup Noodles while they reach those dreams – they are affordable, they
are simple and they are comforting. They are also the trusted product that got them through other hard times in their life.
Who they are: Men and women, ages 21 through 35. They are realistic dreamers. People in this stage of their life are trying to get
through college, or trying to succeed in a relatively new career. They are all ethnicities, religions, and beliefs. They are poor to middle-
income individuals living in all areas of the country – urban and rural. They either go to school or are working people who live paycheck
to paycheck or barely above. These people are working towards something. They are either going to college to graduate and get a job
in their chosen career, or they are already working but always have their mind set on what they want to achieve next. Most are single,
but a few already have young children. They want to make it somewhere better in life. They either dream of having a career, a nice
car, nice house, nice vacation or exciting world experiences. Whatever they are dreaming about, the key is that they’re dreaming.
While reaching their dreams they sacrifice – they live with roommates or in dorms or have modest homes; they take public trans-
portation, their bike, or humble car to get around; and they eat ‘$5 footlongs’ or ‘2 tacos for a dollar’ over gourmet burgers or chef
salads. They do their laundry at the laundermat or family’s house, wash their own car, bathe their own dog, do their own sewing (or
ask mom to), and skip massages and pedicures for sunny days at the park and beach (they know how to have cheap feel-good fun).
There have typically been 3 kinds of reasons/
people who purchase Cup Noodles. 1- those
on a budget (such as students - Cup Noodles is
often the “College staple”), 2 - slackers (those
too lazy even to wash the single pot and bowl
required for properly cooking packaged Top
Ramen), and 3 – workers (those working any-
where that has a sink and microwave avail-
able). (Other people occasionally eat it when
they just don’t have the time or money to go
out to a restaurant for a prepared meal.)
This is what Theresa has to say:
I really love Cup Noodles! As a college student I lived
off of both Ramen noodles and Cup Noodles. In 3
minutes, you have a warm and delicious, yet cheap
and quick meal. They are so easy to prepare and just
Now I’m a busy professional and I enjoy Cup Noodles
during my half-hour lunches that I squeeze into my
10-hour workdays. I usually eat them at work, and
sometimes I dress them up and eat them for dinner.
I live in a small 1 bedroom apartment, live modestly
and keep my expenses down. By eating Cup Noodles
it helps me save for my future. One day I will get
promoted and be the head designer in a big office,
but for now I enjoy my work as a junior associate,
and I enjoy my noodles while I reach the top!
There’s just something about these noodles; they are
so comforting! When they are cooking the smell of
them fills the room and surrounds my soul. They
make me feel good no matter what I’m going through
- hard times or hard work!
Theresa dreams of the “One day”:
Reason to Believe: For decades students and young adults have loved the flavor and comfort of Nissin Cup Noodles. Now we
want them to think past the price, ease and flavor of the noodles to the comfort they provide. (But we’re not doing Campbells-
chicken-noodle-mm-mm-good-happy-family comfort. We’re doing ah-life-is-hard-but-cup-noodles-always-makes-me-feel-good-
Single most effective message: Cup Noodles feeds and comforts you while you achieve your dreams. Never stop dreaming!
Tone & Manner: Sincere, warm, realistic but dreamy, heroic, and enduring/timeless. Possibly humorous, but preferably not.
Mandatory advertising elements: Logo/product shot and tag line.
Competition: Since Nissin Cup Noodles was introduced to the world, there have been numerous copycats that made extremely
similar products. Advertising has been minimal to none.
Strengths: Nissin has had unbelievable worldwide success with Cup Noodles (and other similar products.) People recognize this
brand, despite many competitors, as the original. There is a huge following for Cup Noodles.
Weaknesses: There is a large percentage of the population who consider this product as cheap and inferior – in other words as
“junk food” – and any ads they’ve seen probably only reinforced this because of their cheap cheesy style.
Opportunities: They can gain a place in the lives of those current struggling to make it farther in life. They need to connect
emotionally and go beyond the obvious product benefits since all competitors can claim these same benefits (easy, cheap, flavor-
Threats: Loads of competitors that have extremely similar product.
Product forecast: Currently Nissin is enjoying worldwide success with its Cup Noodles product. This campaign will take greater
market share in the affordable convenience foods category. It will also enter new markets and gain greater share of mind with
new audiences that never really considered the intangible benefits of eating Cup Noodles.
In one year, the campaign will lead into an internet viral campaign, where people will contribute how they get through hard
times and how Cup Noodles comforts them, and will pass the word/campaign to their friends to participate too.
In three years the most poignant personal consumer stories from the Internet campaign will go to TV and highlight how people
are getting through their days.
In five years, Nissin should redo/reassess research and make sure this campaign has been effective and if the right market was
targeted. If it is proven successful, they should consider how they could further involve their most loyal customers in their
continued integrated marketing efforts.