Matthew Miller
Jan 7, 2015

How do you sell instant coffee in Vietnam? Surely not like this

VIETNAM - Nescafe, through Publicis Vietnam, has deployed YouTube's interactive technology to promote a variety of iced coffee. But the effort leaves us cold.

Client: Nescafe Vietnam

Agency: Publicis Vietnam

Market: Vietnam

Campaign scope: An interactive YouTube video that has garnered 1.24 million views and a 21 per cent engagement rate since its debut, according to the agency. The point of the exercise is to inform consumers that the brand's milk-laden iced coffee product, which is less known than its black variety, is "stronger than you think".

Press release quote: Thien Thanh Nguyen. GM, Pubiicis Vietnam: "Nescafe Café Viet has a long history of creating powerful and playful advertising that challenges their audience. With this latest campaign we wanted the coffee drinkers of Vietnam to have a voice in the conversation by giving them a way to engage and interact with the brand like never before."

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments: The agency claims this is the first-ever use of an interactive YouTube format in Vietnam. If so, it's a shame consumers are getting such a lacklustre effort. Admittedly we're not Vietnamese, so maybe we're way off base, but to us the zany behaviour is forced and the bits are not funny. The effort is clearly derivative of the famous Old Spice campaign, but without the awesome. We only bothered clicking through all the interactive elements out of a sense of professional duty.

And the whole vibe—a manly-man speaking to manly-men about a strong manly drink that'll make manly-men out of them—is not only tired but also seems like misguided strategy in this case. In Vietnam, do women only serve coffee to manly men while scantily clad, or make bedroom eyes at the manly men who drink it? Or do they actually buy and drink the stuff themselves? Judging by this and other ads from the brand, no. But maybe they would if they saw a different kind of message. Selling instant coffee in Vietnam must be exceedingly difficult because the glorious real stuff is readily available. So don't you need to be as inclusive as possible?

Plus, is this guy even an aspirational manly-man for Vietnamese men?

Again, perhaps we're missing the brilliance. For the record, we have reached out to a couple of people in Vietnam for a reality check, and we welcome all comments below or on Twitter @CampaignAsia. But we also note that the video has twice as many thumbs-down votes as thumbs-up votes on YouTube. 

Related: The brand took a very different (and much funnier) tack with a recent friendly-neighbour campaign in Singapore. Also, Publicis has a fondness for interactive YouTube videos that goes all the way to the very top


Client: Nescafe Vietnam
Agency: Publicis Vietnam
Creative Director: Alex Rea
Business Head: Siddharth Malhotra
Art Director: Steven Moreau
Copywriter: Le Huynh
Account Director: Ankur Malik
Senior Account Executive: Tina Do
Media Agency: Zenith Optimedia
Director: Sean Mullens
Production Company: Clubhouse Films
Executive Producer: Chi Minh De Leo



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