Tien Khong
Feb 18, 2016

War of meaningful wishes: Vietnamese Tet advertising 2016

A Vietnamese marketer reflects on the diversification of Tet advertising the country witnessed during the 2016 Lunar New Year season.

War of meaningful wishes: Vietnamese Tet advertising 2016

Annually, around the beginning of spring, Vietnamese advertisers enter into a crucial war for hearts and pocketbooks: Tet, the lunar new year celebration that is both an emotional and a spending peak for the Vietnamese people.

Tet 2016 witnessed a never-before-seen diversification of wishes deployed by brands to earn share of mind among consumers. Insightful, meaningful and innovative are good words to sum up this most prosperous season of Vietnamese advertising. 

Neptune: The homing wish

Neptune’s reminders about treasuring home have gradually become a Tet ritual in Vietnam, and the cooking-oil brand has over the years successfully evoked tears for millions of Vietnamese people. This year, Neptune poured old wine into new bottle with the story of a young family that chooses to travel abroad, leaving the parents to take care of each other at home. The parents lie by saying everything is fine even though they are heartbroken. But investment in location and a complex storyline haven't helped Neptune touch hearts as strongly as in past years. The brand may have to consider leaving old glory behind or finding a way to renew itself in the aura of it.


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Same old new year? Though steeped in tradition and rooted in filial piety, the meaning of Lunar New Year is starting to evolve, especially among young people. Marketers wishing to reap good fortune should pay attention.


Pepsi: Enabling 5,000 homecoming dreams

Pepsi this year brought its brand essence of “now” to life by bringing people home. Kicking off with a simple TVC of a student coming home to his mom’s warm embrace, Pepsi collaborated with the national TV channel, Thanhnien news and HCMC Student Support Center to launch a CSR campaign to help 5,000 students, poor people and immigrants make it home for the holiday. Synchronized across packaging and social content, this campaign helped clarify the brand purpose: Pepsi is not about young people enjoying themselves, it's about young people making real-world changes.


Mirinda: Lucky envelopes of unique laughter

As a brand of bold fun, Mirinda found a way out of stereotyped Tet wishes and brought a new twist to an old tradition. In an increasingly materialistic society, the true meaning of lucky envelopes—“good luck and joy”—has been forgotten. Mirinda re-evoked that true joy through its 'Lucky Laughter Envelope'. Gathering top local influencers Tran Thanh, Khoi My and Dong Nhi in a fun viral clip, Mirinda gently reminded people about the real meaning of the envelopes. On top of that, the brand pioneered an emoticon revolution in Vietnam with the first ever laughing stickers on chat app Zalo, gaining huge appreciation among teenagers—its primary target consumers.


Lifebuoy: The wish of health

Good health is one of the most common wishes shared during Tet, but also one of the hardest for brands to connect with their brand story. But it's a natural for Lifebuoy, given its longtime mission of increasing hand-washing. For Tet this year, the brand deployed an innovation it also used in China last year: red envelopes that are literally made of soap. 


Knorr: Tet comes with moms

Many brands have tapped into the hardship mothers endure in making a Tet celebration happen. But Knorr sees it differently: Preparing the best meals for Tet is not a matter of pain, but of pride. And what moms need is not pity, but appreciation. Knorr enabled families to send sincere appreciation to moms with a 'Thank you Mom' hotline. While the channel may seem outdated, the choice shows the brand's understanding of its target consumers, who may not be very familiar with digital means.


Vinasoy: The wish for serenity

As a newcomer to Tet advertising, Vinasoy (a local soymilk brand) played a game of words by letting its soybean product speak out a similarly pronounced Tet wish: serenity (normally pronounced as “nành” and “lành” in Vietnamese). The brand used Victor Vu, one of the hottest Vietnamese movie directors, to tell the story of people who wish for serenity most: families of fishermen who must sail out into the stormy seas to earn money. The beautiful, cinematic video has successfully sent out the wish for serenity—seemingly a humble wish, but one that can be most valuable for those in need.


Tien Khong is a marketer at Masan Consumer in Vietnam and a graduate of the Elite Young Marketers Development program, a nine-month training program for young marketers in Vietnam, coached by top local marketers from MNCs and local companies. The views expressed her are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer.


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