Category: Vietnam Media Agency of the Year
Key clients: Suntory PepsiCo, Pepsi Foods, Karcher
New clients this year: Sacom Bank, Marico Vietnam
Highlights: “Let’s be honest. Last Q4 was like a punch in Zenith’s face,” the agency said. The agency had won bronze as Vietnam Media Agency of the Year in 2022 but it ended with the loss of a 15-year client that was its top revenue contributor — and on top of that was a gloomy outlook for 2023. “We were hit hard.”
The old adage is that everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face but Zenith not only survived in 2023, it thrived after boldly pivoting its entire business strategy, and a record year ended with gold as Vietnam’s Media Agency of the Year.
Zenith’s strategy to reach its peak comprised development across people, tech, and partner experiences. Milestones and achievements across all three areas were all underpinned by the agency’s “C.H.A.N.G.E” programme — commerce, holistic media integration, AI & automation, native content marketing, growth hacking, and emerging platform — a case of Zenith being the change it wanted to see in the agency world.
In terms of real change, Zenith stopped relying on traditional media and pushed aggressively towards e-commerce, launching “Zenith Commerce” its one-stop shop for client needs. Holistic media integration meant “audience-first” planning, truly marrying media and creative to reduce client spend.
AI & automation fueled Zenith’s internal efficiency with its own GPT Sandbox app and AI-generated images easing digital heavy jobs, while automating the Datorama platform saved reporting time. Zenith’s native content marketing approach expanded content and influencer marketing capabilities, best embodied by its success in Lay’s sponsorship of the Rap Viet reality show, while growth hacking saw innovative new solutions prioritised for clients, be that AI application or a bespoke Spotify brainstorm workshop. Finally, emerging platform sealed win-win partnerships beyond paid media with ride-share giant Grab, finance app Momo, and top growing content syndicator VieChannel.
By changing its perspective and approach, Zenith secured three big wins — Pepsico, Marico, Sacombank — and a 68.6% increase in revenue, an agency record, plus a 34% increase in scope beyond straight media, and 100% retention of high-profile talents.
Further innovation took the form of the Invention+ playbook for creativity, as well as the 1:9:90 model for influencer marketing, and real-time social media content in the Lay’s-Rap Viet campaign to react to audience sentiment on the hit show.
To bring along the rest of the industry in its change, Zenith’s SEC (sharing, educating, coaching) programme strategically focuses on next-generation talent development and lighting the path for them in the evolving world of marketing in Vietnam.
Aquafina tasked Zenith with revolutionising recycling in Vietnam, resulting in the Ripple Maker Community campaign — an interactive, tech-fuelled behavioural change programme that used NFTs and blockchain to incentivise youth to recycle. Coins gained from dropping bottles at over 100 recirculating Aquafina machines across Vietnam offered rewards in the form of virtual fashion items and e-gifts, and the community of 10,000 Ripple Makers helped recycle 3.8 tonnes — or 300,000 Aquafina bottles — of plastic. The campaign generated $2.6 million in earned media, helping Aquafina drive top-of-mind awareness and retain its top market share in Vietnam.
“Very impressive,” the judges said, noting Zenith’s vision, objectives, and the excellent performance delivered for clients. There was also praise for the “clear innovation and creativity in both campaigns and processes.”