We created, completely from scratch, a new dish for Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. We invented the product itself, its positioning, its naming and its packaging. This is going to be a long story. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Central Asian peoples love to eat. You might think that everyone loves to eat. But our audience love it even more than those who think they love it the most. They’ll tell you there’s a cultural reason for this. Long ago, when distances were measured by days, rather than by kilometers, the ancestors of the present-day Kazakh people were nomads. They ate rarely— only during infrequent halts in travel. So, they ate a lot. Grandmothers would tell grandchildren, “During a halt, eat until your full!» After all, no one knew when they’d have another chance to sit down and eat a delicious meal.
Hunters and nomads have always believed that food without meat is not food, and meat without noodles is unappetizing.
While the healthy eating trend has taken over Europe and North America, walking down the street with a healthy sandwich can practically get you arrested in a place like Kazakhstan. So there aren’t any particular barriers for eating instant noodles daily. Because Central Asia has its own understanding of healthy eating: if the portion is «healthy,» then the food is healthy.
We carefully studied the instant noodle market in Central Asia. There were so many brands represented in supermarkets, it felt like even a mosquito would be unable to get its nose between two packages crammed together on the store shelves. There were huge brand names from neighboring countries, including China, as well as from Korea and Japan. Everything was colorful and sharp.
We needed to develop a positioning that would push everyone else around with its wide shoulders and take its rightful place at the head of the table in every Central Asian family.
After several months of interviews, research and eating, it dawned on us: among all the spaghetti and dumplings for lunch, our noodles are the most satisfying dish in the world. To complete the picture, we needed to tweak the product itself.
To ensure that the positioning was based in reality, we worked closely with the client to prepare recommendations for the product’s formulation and composition: from the fineness of the flour to the width of the noodles to the broth itself. In the end, our R&D people had to give serious thought about how to follow all our recommendations.
We gave ourselves an impossible task: come up with a name that would scream out our positioning from the shelf while embodying the essence of the product. We developed at least a dozen suitable names, but in our hearts we knew there was only one thing that could truly fulfill our demands.
Siem Sam is phonetically Asian and, in Slavic languages, it suggests that someone is greedily hungry. Later we realized how successful the name was, as it speaks not only about the size of the portion, but also hints at the taste of the dish itself, since it leaves no desire to share.
We were methodical and focused in creating detailed illustrations of noodle deities guarding the pure lands of meditation and massive portions. Mythical creatures, both hoofed and winged, personify the variety of noodle seasonings.
We inscribe upon each package a legend based, of course, on real events.
The elders say that when the dragons decided to leave the Earth, they descended to the people and bestowed upon them sacred dishes. «The hearty noodles and fragrant broth will make you invincible,» said the dragons as they left for the heavens.
The strong man divided it into portions for the whole army.
The good man gave offered it as a gift to the gods.
And the wise man ate it all himself.
Siem Sam. Try to conquer!