Shin Ramyun/Ramyeon is a brand of instant noodle (including cup ramyeon) that is produced by a South Korean food company Nongshim since October, 1986. It is now exported to over 100 countries, and is the highest selling instant noodle brand in South Korea.
Shin Ramyun is well known for its spicy flavor. It is produced in two kinds: Shin Ramyun, the original one, and Shin Ramyun Black, which was introduced in 2011. A standard package of Shin Ramyun consists of noodles, a sachet of flavoring powder (soup base), and a sachet of vegetable flakes. Shin Ramyun Black contains extra beef stock soup, which gives the soup a more intense savory flavor.
Shin Ramyun was introduced in October 1986 by Nongshim. The Nongshim R&D team came up with the idea of Sogogijanguk, a Cabbage and Beef Stew, which is one of the most popular traditional South Korean dishes.
After Shin Ramyun was introduced, Nongshim’s market share hit 46.3% in 1987, and exceeded 50% for the first time in 1988 (53.8%). With the market share of over 20% just by itself, Shin Ramyun is a leading brand of the instant noodles in Korea.
In early 2014, Nongshim revised its recipe for noodle blocks across its line for a chewier consistency, along with a revamped external packaging.
In 2015, Shin Ramyun achieved 28 billion units sold since it was first introduced. Shin Ramyun is listed on the National Brand Consumption Index (NBCI) as the number 1 brand in South Korea (2012~2016) for its brand awareness and brand power.
Name and package
The name of Shin Ramyun is from a Chinese character Shin (辛), which means “spicy.” Shin Ramyun uses red and black packaging with the emphasized calligraphic word “辛”. The meaning of the Chinese character is shown on the background of the package. Nongshim decided to emphasize the Chinese character Shin (辛) for their brand with a belief that a single Chinese character delivers the brand image better than hangul. Additionally, the character is the surname of both the founder of Nongshim and his elder brother, who started Lotte.
Shin Ramyun was first introduced in 1986. The main ingredients of Shin Ramyun are beef and seasoned red-pepper sauce (depending on where it is manufactured). In the U.S, there are two types of Shin Ramyun: a Package type and a cup/bowl type. A package of Shin Ramyun is 120g, and there are 4 sizes of Shin Ramyun cup/bowls: Shin Cup Noodle Soup (68g), Shin Bowl Noodle Soup (86g), Shin Ramyun M-Cup (75g) and Shin Big Bowl Noodle Soup (114g). In Japan, there is Shin Ramyun mini cup.
Shin Ramyun Black was introduced in April 2011, which was 25 years after Shin Ramyun was first introduced to the market. Shin Ramyun Black is a slightly different version of Shin Ramyun with an additional seolleongtang powder on top of its flavor. Other ingredients include boiled beef slices, garlic and shitake mushrooms. In the U.S. there are two types of Shin Ramyun Black: a Package type (130g) and a cup/bowl type (Shin Black Cup Noodle, 101g). There is also a Shin Black M-Cup (75g).
Shin Ramyun is the most popular instant noodle brand to date in South Korea. It is now accounting for one quarter of the Korean instant noodle market. Shin Ramyun is now exported to over 100 countries around the world, and is produced in three countries: the United States, China and South Korea. As of 2015, accumulated sold units of Shin Ramyun in the world reached 28 billion units.
Marketing and advertising
Marketing in South Korea
As part of the marketing strategies, Nongshim uses “사나이 울리는 신라면 (Romanization: Sanai Ullineun Shin Ramyun; translation: Shin Ramyun can make a man cry)”. The word Sanai (Hangul: 사나이) is a word to describe the man while emphasizing the masculineness.
Most of its commercials include a famous male celebrity, frequently with his family, who is eating Shin Ramyun at home. These commercials emphasize being family friendly, being Korean, and being folksiness. Psy, a South Korean singer who is well known for his song "Gangnam Style," and Park Ji-Sung, a South Korean footballer, also filmed Shin Ramyun commercials.
Nongshim has many jingles for their products. Adding a simple yet catchy jingle at the end of their commercials is one of Nongshim’s important marketing strategies. They are easy to remember, and most people in South Korea are aware of them.
Marketing in China
In China, Nongshim uses a slogan: 사나이라면 매운맛을 먹을 줄 알아야지 (Traditional Chinese: 吃不了辣味非好漢; Translation: (He who cannot handle spice is not a true man). This slogan is from a famous phrase in China “不到長城非好漢 (He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man)” by Mao Zedong.
Being aware of the historical importance of Baduk (Traditional Chinese: 圍棋; Japanese: 囲碁) in China, Nongshim has been sponsoring an annual Baduk Championship, “Shin Ramyun Cup Baduk Championship” as part of their marketing strategies since 1999.
Marketing in Japan
In Japan, Nongshim has set April 10 as a Shin Ramyun day since 2010. The date was chosen for its similarity in pronunciation with “Hot (Japanese: ホット)” when a Japanese pronounces 4 and 10 in English.
A Japanese word “うまからっ” (Romanization: umakaratsu; Translation: Spicy yet tasty; Etymology: Portmanteau of two Japanese words “うまい (Romanization: umai; Translation: Tasty)" and “からい (Romanization: karai; Translation: Spicy)”) is used to describe the flavor of Shin Ramyun.
As part of the main marketing projects, Nongshim offers “Shin Ramyun Kitchen Car,” a food truck that offers consumers a chance to taste Shin Ramyun, since 2013. Every year, the truck travels across Japan for seven months, promoting Shin Ramyun to Japanese consumers. As of 2016 April, the truck has hosted a total of 150 tasting sessions, and travelled more than 100,000 kilometers.
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