DTC 49: 📦 Reinventing instant ramen
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

We cannelloni be impressed with the marketing team at Barilla Pasta.

In an im-pasta-bly cute move they’ve made thematic playlists that last the exact amount of time it takes to cook your respective pasta. 🥺🍝

1. Spaghetti night will never be the same. 2. We had to steal their idea (and we hope you do too).

If you’re in the mood for a morning jam, please accompany your read of this DTC Saturday send with the sweet sounds of our new, average read-time length DTC playlists:

😎 DTC chill af

🎸 DTC guitar music

🕺 DTC disco bangers

If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss another. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

In this edition of the DTC Newsletter, you’ll find:  

📦 The latest on iOS14 from Facebook.

📦 immi ramen’s product research journey – a must read & listen for F&B DTC.

📦 Yotpo’s guide to generating fast ROI with SMS Marketing.

📦 A breakdown of a top-notch retargeting ad (plus what we’d change).

📦 Considering a brand overhaul? You’ll want to read our article first.

📦 Learn from Persosa, exactly why and how your ad campaigns should be "connected" (plus a special offer for DTC readers).

Read till the end for an insight-packed Amazon All Killer No Filler 🚀.

iOS 14.5

What to expect when you’re expecting...

On Tuesday, Apple confirmed that it will make iOS 14.5 available to all iOS users next week, and apps will be required to obtain permission to data-track users across apps and websites owned by third parties.

OnWednesday, Facebook announced that on the week of April 26th, they will roll out their new advertiser experiences and measurement protocols. Expect to see changes to business and advertising tools, campaign set up, targeting, delivery, measurement, and reporting.

Head here for Facebook’s guide on what to expect, and how best to prepare.


Today we’re introducing the newest addition to the DTC Podcast family – DTC Brand Stories.

Our first guest is Kevin Lee (K-Lee), co-founder of immi, the world's first low-carb, high-protein instant ramen.

Let’s jump in 🍜

Disrupting the $42 billion instant ramen industry is a challenge, but it all starts with an idea.  

"We started with this theory that noodles can be improved upon because most noodles are typically white carbs. It’s just wheat flour. There’s really no added nutrition."

At first, their focus was on creating a low-carb noodle.

"From there we started thinking about other ancillary health benefits like high protein, higher fibre… later on we decided to go plant-based."

❓ Testing Their Idea:

Before Kevin and his co-founder Kevin Chanthasiriphan (K-Chan) even had a product, they embarked on a creative and strategic market research strategy.

First, they set up landing pages to conduct demand testing.

"At the time there was a widget named Celery, which I think has been sunsetted, that allowed you to collect pre-orders directly on your landing page."

"We were able to drive traffic towards the landing pages and really test. You could call it ROAS, but really we were just trying to see are people putting their credit card down and pre-ordering the product."

"It was pretty astounding to see so many people being willing to put down a credit card, and allow us to effectively hold their payment in escrow (that’s what Celery did).

"Of course we would refund them, but as we refunded them we would shoot them an email saying "hey, we’re just curious why you were interested in this product?" And a lot of people would respond with qualitative feedback."

These tests solidified K-Lee and K-Chan’s idea. The tests also helped establish the brand’s core attributes.

💪 Understanding Core Audiences:

Next, K-Lee and K-Chan needed to determine what their core audiences valued.

This required another series of ad tests.

"What we discovered through the clicks was that 70-80% of the audience were females between 35 to 65… in actually reaching out to that audience and doing qualitative interviews, we realized that, hey, that actually is our audience!"

From there they targeted the winning audiences with different sets of value props.

"In the early days we thought everyone cared about gluten-free… but we came to realize that it’s still a very small percentage of the population."

Ultimately the things people cared about the most were low-carb, high-protein, and plant-based. So K-Lee and K-Chan knew to emphasize those elements.

"I highly recommend this because I do think a lot of founders, especially in the food and beverage space, come in with this gut instinct of… "because industry trends are going this way we should make this." But there’s a very simple process you can do, it probably took us three to four weeks to just run the full gamut of ad tests."

🎯 Developing A Community:

While the product development and branding process was underway, the immi team was busy establishing their community.

"In the early days, as we were building this company, we were simultaneously building a beta community on Facebook."

"We realized that the majority of our interested audience were 35-65 females… and we knew that was an audience who happened to live on Facebook. We decided that a Facebook target group was probably the way to build a beta community. It’s going to be much more engaged than getting people on an email list and occasionally sending them emails."

Before their V1 launch they created a survey and found 150 community members interested in trying the product.

"We said, ‘look it’s not going to be pretty, we’re literally going to send you ziploc bags of noodles with seasoning. We will ask that you fill out this qualitative and quantitative survey afterwards.’"

About eighty people responded, and 65-70% of people gave a broad-level positive response to their product.

🎧 Listen to the full episode for:

  • immi’s growing pains
  • What they’ve learned since going to market
  • The benefits of building in public
  • Their vision for the immi community moving forward


Q: How many times do you think you’ll check your phone today?

A: Probably 150… or more.  

That might seem surprisingly high, but deep down, you know it’s true.

It’s a mobile-first world, and everything we do is now on our phones – including shopping.

More than 65% of online shoppers choose to buy online directly from their mobile devices.

DTC brands already make a ton of accommodations for mobile, like mobile-friendly shopping carts, payment options, and apps. But what about texting?

Text messaging, or SMS, can be extremely powerful for brands. The average SMS open rate is 98%, and 90% of messages are read within three minutes. You certainly can’t say that about email!

SMS marketing lets brands meet customers where they are and engage in a way that’s native to the mobile experience.

But not just any SMS experience will do.

Rather than blasting customers with generic texts, brands need to focus on hyper-targeted messages that create personalized shopping experiences. This is the key to driving higher conversion; in fact, 54% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if the messages they receive are personalized.

This might all seem overwhelming, but it’s actually incredibly easy if you have the right SMS solution. Lucky for you, Yotpo has an easy SMS formula that has everything you need to start driving 25X ROI (or higher) from SMS marketing – read their guide here.

Plus, if you’re ready to give SMS a try, then make sure to take advantage of Yotpo’s 30-day free promotion before it ends!

Ad Inspo

Here’s a quick analysis of a Lumae Skin Facebook ad, courtesy of our own FB ads expert and our head of DTC+ – Raven!

I recently added this item to my cart, and so I have likely fallen into their retargeting funnel.

This is not a strong prospecting ad. While it tells me that I can save money and that consumers love it, it doesn't really tell me anything about the product features or its benefits.

As a retargeting ad, it's very strong!

Here’s what works:

  • Triple Sell Out – is both in the headline and the top line in the copy to reinstate their point that this is a hot item! They are using this type of language as amazing social proof and to add urgency to get consumers to purchase.
  • Money Back Guarantee, While Stock Lasts – this is all amazing language used to enforce urgency. You can’t wait to purchase, you need to purchase now.
  • Emoji Checklist – grabs consumers’ attention and keeps them focused on the information you want them to see. This language would not be as impactful in paragraph form.

This video is a great BOF creative!

  • It shows multiple consumers using the product (social proof).
  • Displays a promo code.
  • They reinstate their main points in the creative and in the copy.
  • They show you how to use the product.
  • They offer Afterpay in case price is a friction point for purchase.
  • They show men and women in the video.

What I would change

I would put the promocode in the copy, not just the creative – unless they are using preloaded checkout links where the code will be automatically applied, meaning consumers wouldn’t need to remember it.

Apply these tips to your BOF ads, and let us know how it goes!

If you want to join our merry community of DTC superstars, then DTC+ is just the ticket. Raven is building this platform into a juggernaut, providing in-depth DTC marketing education, access to Pilothouse strategies and team members, and lots more. Join for $1 to check it out today!


The Evolution of Brands

By Robin Holdsworth, Pilothouse Lead Designer

Why do people change their logos? When should you change them?

These questions can be challenging to answer, so let’s run through a couple iconic examples.

The creative direction of brands and logos, over time, can evolve depending on trends and culture.

Some brands maintain their integrity by not deviating far from the original brand and it’s fundamental origin. Other brands like to follow esthetic trends, or changes in their company, by subtly or drastically changing the look of their logo.

Both directions have value, and downsides too, to these artistic representations.

Companies that stick to their original brand guidelines tend to utilize a simple and recognizable 2D style. Simple, cohesive and identifiable. Coca-Cola is a great example of this strategy.

Only briefly between 1993-2003 did they deviate slightly from the 2D strategy, wherein they implemented a more three-dimensional approach. That was very popular during the time – many soda drinks decided to add bubbles and refreshing elements to their look.

In 2007, Coca-Cola went back to their original approach and maintained the artistic integrity of their original brand. In doing this, Coca-Cola’s wordmark is still recognizable and synonymous with their beverage.

Other brands decided on a different approach. As cultural trends changed significantly from the 70’s to present day, so did the look of some brands, including Apple.

Apple didn’t deviate from the shape of their logo, but changed and utilized colors, gradients and dimension to appear modern and contemporary.

While this compromised the original brand guidelines, it also propelled Apple to its status as a leader in technology and aesthetics.

The new logos were implemented as the company changed the hardware and design of their products. Newer computers used a metallic casing. Since this was fashionable at the time, the retro rainbow logo would have looked out of place.

Revising a logo or brand has it’s benefits, as long as there are reasons for it. If the company or products have changed significantly, it may be useful to revamp a brand.

Since Coca-Cola’s drink has hardly changed, it makes sense that its brand would fundamentally stay the same. Apple’s logo development was justified as its products evolved.

To change a logo simply because it is fashionable risks compromising the integrity of your brand, which is recognized by your consumers.

Changing your brand is a major decision. Before embarking on the endeavor, consider:

Does your company follow fashionable trends?

Does it stick to its core roots and values?

Or does it simply represent the products you sell?

The evolution of a brand is indicative of many things. How will your brand represent you?


Increase conversions with data-driven experiences.

Persosa enables brands to increase revenue with Connected Campaigns™ – connected and personalized experiences that drive conversions and LTV, all while tracking your customers with a secure, privacy-first approach.

Learn how fast-growing brands have thrived thanks to data-driven experiences with Persosa:

  • Wag! 🐶 The "Uber for dog walking" used Persosa to deliver localized experiences for each of their key markets, reducing bounce rate by 36% and increasing time on-site by 170%.

  • Spiritual Gangster 🧘 This OG of the yoga movement looked to Persosa when expanding their product lines to include menswear and kids’ wear. By creating audience-specific experiences, they increased conversions 49% in less than two weeks.

Have you ever thought, "so what?" when you hear about third-party cookies going away?

👉  Enroll in Persosa’s upcoming webinar to learn how iOS 14.5 and third-party cookies changes will impact your business and learn how to grow your sales throughout the changes.

DTC Newsletter readers get our Performance Promise™ – A GUARANTEED lift in conversion. Schedule a free strategy session to learn how.

Frictionless Copy

Welcome to Frictionless Copy, our recurring segment where Pilothouse copywriting experts answer your questions and offer actionable copy advice to increase your response rates.

Question: What's better: a direct CTA (like download/click/subscribe now) or a more subtle CTA (like try it out yourself) – question from our reader, Micha

Answer: This is one of those dreaded "it depends" answers.

A strong CTA, like Click NOW to Save, is best when there’s a fair amount of urgency involved. That urgency can be driven by an offer ending soon, or by the notion that the sooner they get it, the sooner they solve their problem.

A softer CTA, like Try it for Yourself or Learn More Here, is more effective when what preceded it is a softer sell.

You really have to fashion your CTA around the style of the copy, the type of product, where it lands in the funnel, and the pain point/problem you are solving. Every case is a bit different.

Sometimes it’s a mixture, like "If you’re tired of not sleeping at night, have tried just about everything, and are ready for something that actually works… You are going to love this little-known solution, so Click Here Now."

That said, the sure way to know what works best is to ALWAYS split test your CTAs. Keep testing new ideas against your current winners. Always strive to improve every single aspect of your copy, and always keep testing.

Thank you for your question, Micha!

The Pilothouse copywriting team would love to answer any specific copywriting questions you have.

Just go here, and ask away :)


Check out our Amazon All Killer No Filler, with Pilothouse team members Robert Russell, Clifford Donovan, and SethTubman-Watkins!

This pod is PACKED with Amazon intel. Dive in for:  

📦 Keywords strategy segmentation and bidding strategies across campaigns.

📦 The #1 thing we see people getting wrong on their Amazon listings.

📦 A breakdown of A+ Content.

📦 Why you need to register your brand on Amazon.

📦 What kind of ads you need to think about on Amazon.

📦 The interplay between Amazon Ads and organic sales.

📦 High-level strategy for building your Amazon store.

Consider the pod an appetizer. The DTC+ Amazon Growth Guide is your main course.

Join us for a zero-to-mastery Amazon journey on April 28th, 29th, and 30th.

M & A

📈 Persosa: Learn how fast-growing brands like Wag! and Spiritual Gangster have thrived thanks to data-driven experiences with Persosa.

💦 Hydrant raises $8.5M in funding with support from sports stars.

🏠 Gwyneth Paltrow invests in The Expert, a video marketplace for high-end interior designers.

💻 Zoom launches $100M Zoom Apps investment fund.

📺 Netflix share prices slumped more than 10% after-hours, after announcing it had added just under four million subscribers in the first quarter.

🛴 European e-scooter and micromobility startup Dott raises $85 million.

🤑 Venmo users can now buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

📦 Per Diem raises $2.3M to help local businesses build subscription programs.

👩🏻‍💻 Remote hiring startup Deel raises $156M at a $1.25B valuation after 20x growth in 2020.

🌯 Chipotle earnings smash estimates as online sales overtake in-person orders.

🧐 SPAC transactions come to a halt amid SEC crackdown, cooling retail investor interest.

📈 UiPath climbs 23% in stock market debut after one of largest US software IPOs in history.

🧠 Ad-tech company Outbrain seeks $2B valuation in planned IPO.

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