- To celebrate National Noodle Day on Oct. 6, Nissin Foods launched an e-commerce site with limited-edition merchandise for its Cup Noodles and Top Ramen brands, according to details provided to Marketing Dive.
- Items include branded T-shirts and hats; a Cup Noodles mug; a Top Ramen pillow; a Cup Noodles baby onesie; dog Halloween costumes; and a neon sign reading "Send Noods" that sells for $500.
- Fans have the chance to receive 50% off the collection with special codes available from the launch date, Oct. 4, until National Noodle Day.
With the collection, Nissin is trying to connect with the types of college-aged consumers that have made its Top Ramen and Cup Noodles brands household names for years thanks to being cheap, easy dining options. The "Send Noods" sign is a clear riff on the idea of "sending nudes," or nude pictures, via the internet and text message, which has become a popular joke meme format online. Despite the clever wordplay, the neon display might read to some as being tasteless, and it will be interesting to see if anyone is willing to shell out the steep $500 for the offering.
However, Nissin isn't the first brand to make a play at this type of e-commerce pop-up in recent memory. Starburst, the Mars candy brand, promoted the return of its All-Pink packs in the spring through an online store that sold trendy apparel designed by "Project Runway" winner Erin Robertson and, as with Nissin, a pricey neon sign. Also like Nissin, Starburst's shop was closely tied to online culture, being inspired by the "I am a pink Starburst" meme.
Quirky merchandise offerings from brands are often viewed as ways to court younger consumers like millennials, who do more of their shopping online and jump at the chance for limited-edition clothing and other swag. But, for packaged foods brands like Nissin, they also come as investments in e-commerce are accelerating to stay competitive with platforms like Amazon, which is helping to lead the surge in online grocery shopping.
Online grocery sales are expected to account for 20% of all grocery retail by 2025, reaching $100 billion, according to Food Marketing Institute data. Forty-three percent of millennials were shopping for groceries online at least occasionally in 2017, a 50% jump from 2016, per separate findings from the research group.
Nissin has recently leveraged other partnerships and integrations to promote its brands with younger consumers. Cup Noodles teamed up with the video game maker Squre Enix in January around the release of "Dissidia Final Fantasy NT." The campaign included special packaging with codes that unlocked exclusive downloadable content for the game.