From the range of snacks offered in large and small supermarkets, most people have their own brand of chips. To me, it’s Pringles only for the ease with which its packaging allows it to be stored away if I don’t finish it in one sitting.
Yeou Shen, while a self-proclaimed lover of chips, is also health conscious. He explained that it finds value in non-commercial hand-made chips, made without preservatives, flavor enhancers, and dyes.
Wanting to prove to Malaysians that fries can be tasty without relying on artificial flavorings, he invested RM15K capital to introduce his snack brand, tudos, from the Chinese name of the potato (土豆).
But what intrigued me the most about this business was not just its product, but its seemingly disconnected sex brand that supposedly takes food porn to the next level.
Just look through her Instagram page and you’ll find her products with flavors like slutty salty egg yolk, horny salty egg yolk, and flirty mala.
What did it mean to be some kind of aphrodisiac?
Behind tudòs is the graphic designer, Yeou Shen, and his former colleague Sim copywriter. Both have experience working in an advertising agency, and given their backgrounds, they told Vulcan Post that there is an old adage in the world of advertising and marketing, which is that sex sells.
Knowing this, the duo decided to use this as tudos’ marketing tool to give their potato chip brand a way to stand out amidst the already crowded space with brands like Canteen laboratory, And much more.
Yeou Shen explained that food and sexuality have been linked in various ways throughout history.
Good food has neural pathways similar to good sex; Both are physically connected in the limbic system of the brain and release dopamine, which is the hormone that signals cravings. Dopamine plays a huge role in humans and we don’t have stronger desires to eat and reproduce.
Yeou Shen, founder and creative director of tudos.
Researching their intended audience, Yeou Shen and Sim found that young townspeople often have conversations about sex, both as a serious discussion and as harmless jokes.
They further justified that talking about sex in the 21st century shouldn’t be taboo. This is because having comfortable communication on the subject helps develop healthy attitudes towards sex and encourages responsible sexual behavior.
“These are the reasons why the tudos brand has been positioned in a more brazen and sexual light,” they said. “To connect with our audience and bring the pleasure of sensual pleasure when they eat a delicious bag of good quality potato chips.”
The risk paid off
Given that Malaysia is a conservative country that includes many who may not accept a brand that has a more sexual identity, this could cause repercussions.
The business partners agreed and understood that they could suffer setbacks for their choice of a bold and provocative brand. However, after back and forth discussions, they collectively decided to get out of a safe zone and take the creative risk.
“We are trying to draw attention to our brand and dispel the stigma of the conversation about sex in a humorous and lighthearted way, not vulgar,” assured the team.
And the risk has paid off. So far, Yeou Shen and Sim have reported that they have not yet received adverse reactions from customers regarding the tudos brand. This may mean that their buyers thus far have come from a more open-minded group that also loves cheeky marketing.
While their customers aligned with their initial target market, the duo were surprised to find that 80% of shoppers were women, reflecting the fact that this group is more receptive to the brand’s message.
That said, the tudos had a tough time when it came 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 some little hitches that we knew would happen,” said Yeou Shen.
He shared that while they are still looking for bazaars that can accommodate their brand’s message, they have been able to advertise on Instagram by dulling the copy used in paid ads. Otherwise, tudos is mainly based on word of mouth marketing.
Learn the basics of e-commerce
Tudòs products are sold individually at RM 25 per pack and in 3 types of packs:
- The gift set 138 (RM138) – 3 packs of tudòs chips with a bottle of wine and a limited edition tote bag;
- The 90 snack box (RM90) – 4 packs of tudòs chips;
- The 69 bundle (RM69) – 3 packs of tudòs chips.
As branding is a secondary hustle and Yeou Shen’s first venture, he shared that selling snacks online wasn’t the smoothest ride. Managing all elements of e-commerce, from customer service to packaging and logistics, even resulted in him missing an order or two.
“Since then, I’ve learned to delegate and work on my planning and organization skills,” said the 26-year-old.
After 4 months, the tudos team of 2 attributes the turning point to their regulars who spread the word about their chips.
They told us that most of their initial customers were simply intrigued and amused by the cheeky branding and packaging. After tasting the tudos fries, however, they started coming back and reported the brand to their friends and family.
The team’s proudest moment for the company came on the day of the tudos launch, when they ran out of initial stock and had to go into production immediately to meet demands.
So far, Yeou Shen and Sim have reported that they have sold over 2,000 packs of tudos chips since July 2021.
By continuing to run the business from home, Yeou Shen hopes to move production to a larger facility in the near future as the company expands.
The duo is also planning to expand their product offering by inventing more flavors of chips, other types of snacks and even limited edition sets. Additionally, they are working to expand delivery to East Malaysia and potentially Singapore as well.
- You can learn more about tudos here.
- You can read about other Malaysian F&B brands we have covered here.
Featured image credit: Yeou Shen, founder and creative director of tudòs