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Two Great Tastes Together: Ramen & Smartphone

ramen bowl 1

From the “This really exists” department:  A new, convenient bowl lets you more easily look at your smartphone while you slurp your ramen noodles. It’s the iPhone Noodle Bowl and is available now from Chinese ecommerce site Taobao.

It’s really nothing more than a cleverly designed bowl with a slot for either an iPhone or Android. Notice the high sides to minimize splashing and the precise angle for positioning your phone for maximum comfort in reading.  No more neck strain from placing your phone on the table!  Yet, despite that simplicity, what this product says about our current colletive obsession with our phones is really astonishing.

ramen bowl

The lesson is trifold:

1.  We are more than obsessed with our phones – our phones are us.  Those studies about use in the bathroom, at the family dinner table and the texting of a person sitting right next to you — and now this smartphone-supporting noodle bowl — they are all telling us something about the inextricability between our virtual and physical worlds.  We are not just using our phones to visit some other world.  We are totally immersed in our social and digital lives.

This is both a huge opportunity (Is your app or email or social message more compelling and useful than real or virtual conversation with my spouse?   Is this digital experience meaningful within my physical habits?) and a big vulnerability (Breaking through is ridiculously hard). Digital and physical are becoming one.

2. Millennials – the primary consumers of Ramen — are all about connectivity.  In addition to “slow fast food” experiences, many are looking for brands and causes that they can embrace and incorporate into the rest of their lives.  If you are marketing to them, make your product or solution meaningful in context with the rest of their world.  This bowl is perfectly targeted – it’s truly useful.

3.  Ramen is an experience that mirrors social media.  It enjoys incredibly high adoption rates around the world, provides a filling experiences through small, succulent mouthfuls, offers a wide selection of custom flavors (as bland or sharp as you like!), and is usually a group or shared activity.

How are you integrating your marketing and products to be more present in people’s blended physical and digital lives?  That constant evolution is required to stay #TopRight.

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