Social campaign: the next big thing to capture the Vietnamese Millennials


“What is your opinion about the social ignorance issue of young Vietnamese nowadays?”

This is one exam question that you might find in Vietnam’s Grade 12 Literature class.Do the young Vietnamese nowadays ignorant? I really doubt it.

If you belong to the “Vietnamese Millennials” group, possibly you are on the same page with me. The new Vietnamese don’t just care. They care about many more things than their previous generation did. LGBT rights, environmental protection, assistance for people in need, women rights and many more are realized and fought for by the new generation.

In the past, when people faced an inequality or difficult problems that require the crowd to unite, all they can do was through relationships or one-one-one persuasion. Now, via social media, that mass call can be achieved rapidly without much effort. Imagine what if the Vung Ang fish death incidence occured 8 years ago, it would not cause much heat as today. People might just read the news, discussed with other people off-line and the incidence might float away like any other news.

Seeing social issues as the top sharing posts on Facebook in these days, I wonder why no brands in Vietnam have yet been responsive. Environmental issues, food hygiene and safety issues, traffic safety issues, tourism safety issues, etc. you may count. But there hasn’t been any big brand campaign to raise their voice on this.

If you say a social campaign requires massive investment, you are surely wrong. One of the most viral campaigns recently that advocated a social issue belongs to a private flower online shop named Hoa Nói. The idea is simple: giving 1000 flowers to street cleaners in Ho Chi Minh city to honour their environmental contribution. The idea became a hit because it reminded us of the silent heroes working days and nights, whom we have taken for granted. In addition, it is striking that the street cleaners are very environmentally aware. They write on the white board to tell people not to use plastic bags and throw trash in the right place. (Visit their fanpage for details of the campaign) The campaign gained huge attention from media, being featured on VTV, Thanhniennews, etc. and each of their campaign Facebook posts got over 7,000 shares.


A street cleaner writing on the board: “Please do not ask for more plastic bags if not necessary”


Mr. Nguyen Hong Viet, the idea and Hoa Noi owner, giving flowers to a street cleaner

The above example shows how a simple social campaign can engage the young Vietnamese. However, with that being said, it does not mean doing whatever CSR can make your brand viral. Many brands are just doing CSR for the sake of CSR, which will not do any good for leveraging the brands. In order to create the wanted interest and interaction from the Vietnamese millennials, there are several key points brand needs to take into account:

  • The social campaign idea must resonate with the Brand Purpose. This is a must. No need to elaborate on here.
  • The social support can be cliche, but the idea should be fresh. If you want to give scholarship to students, the conventional way is way too boring. What if you create a competition between them instead of giving the scholarship directly? What if you give them an opportunity instead of a money scholarship?
  • The social support should have a specific impact. If you are running a water-saving campaign, have a specific outcome after the campaign. For example, 1 billion meter square of water commitment by Comfort Unilever Vietnam (Refer to the campaign site)

In the following part, I will share some social opportunities that BRANDS might use or could have used. There are so many of them if you think about it.

Some recent social campaign opportunities for BRANDS in Vietnam:

  • Vung Ang mass fish death. Are there any creative solutions to prevent dead fish flowing to the markets? What if a brand launches a fundraising campaign for the fishermen suffering from the incidence?
  • In mid May 2016, tonnes of fish died after heavy rain in HCMC. Could any brand take this opportunity to do some good? What to do with over 70 tonnes of dead fish? Any solution to prevent mass fish death in the next rainy season? Any campaign to reduce the current pollution in the city?
  • American man cleaning polluted canal get in trouble with Hanoi authority. What if a brand sponsors this man’s project and gets his good will widespread?
  • Traffic accidents are the norm on the news. Any brands take up this challenge? I have seen so few.
  • History subjects in Vietnam are dead boring. Could a brand make a history lesson intriguing to students?
  • Domestic violence in VN is still an issue. How could a brand stand up and protect women?


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