As rivals get posher Pot Noodle goes for 'hotties'

Noodles don’t have to be fresh to be posh. Premium ambient instant noodle brands such as just-add-water Kabuto Noodles are innovating and winning listings by appealing to consumers seeking a classy alternative to a Pot Noodle.

“We’re bringing new customers into the category who respond to the premium nature of our range while still liking the convenience of instant noodles,” says founder Crispin Busk.

In June, Kabuto added prawn tom yum and chilli chicken ramen to its three-strong range and won listings in 350 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

“The prawn tom yum is the only product in the category with real prawns in,” says Busk. “We’ve been really encouraged by the response from customers to our range and their willingness to try new flavours. We offer current Pot Noodle eaters something different.”

But instead of smartening up and becoming posher to compete, category stalwart Pot Noodle is asking ‘Why try harder?’ in its latest ad, which hit screens in June.

The brand’s new piri-piri chicken variant (see main story) is being supported by TV ads featuring ‘Brian the WAG’. In his quest for an easy life, Brian (pictured, above) married a footballer in 2011 and tells viewers he has his own fragrance that is “easy money” and is “hot like a fever and spicy like a chilli”. The ad builds up to the strapline ‘Why try harder?’

“The ad captured Pot Noodle’s tongue-in-cheek personality and plays on humour that resonates with our core market,” says Alec Mellor, marketing manager for snacking at the Unilever-owned brand. “The campaign directly targets Pot Noodle’s core audience of 16 to 24-year-olds across TV, digital and social channels.”

The campaign also includes a nationwide search for Miss Pot-ugal - a play on Miss World - and featured a Peel the Top off a Hottie drive, which gave consumers a chance to win piri-piri pots before they were available in-store.