Coca-cola- 2nd Lives


“As part of its global sustainability program, Coca-Cola has launched ‘2nd Lives’, a line of 16 innovative caps which can be screwed onto bottles after consumption, transforming them into fun and useful objects, such as a paintbrush, water squirter and pencil sharpener, among others, and encouraging consumers to reuse and recycle plastic”

This project is one great effort of Coca-cola to follow its global sustainability program. The idea of distributing innovative caps to encourage reuse of empty bottles is brilliant and also suitable with Vietnamese consumers’ behaviour.

However, there is one big QUESTION: Is it safe to associate the Coke’s bottle image with detergent, color or oil? If one uses Coke’s bottle for cleaning products, imagine what association will he/she have the next time he/she sees a Coke.

Moreover, there is also a serious concern on the encouragement of containing non-drinkable, harmful solution inside a soda drink bottle. Mr. Michael Healy, an RMIT officer responds to this campaign: “This kind of thing is heavily discouraged where I’m from. There are ads on TV saying DO NOT use old soda bottles for cleaning products, due to the danger of children drinking from them.”

Maybe the innovative caps should be applied for toy products only. Let’s see the community response!


Case study: Nescafe 3in1- 1,000 Hanoian conversations

Brand: Nescafe 3in1- Nestle Vietnam

Challenge: Even though Nescafe 3in1 instant coffee was a nationwide market leader, it faced huge competition from G7 instant coffee in Hanoi, where people are more traditional and prefer local brand like G7.

Objectives: The campaign was to build loyalty among traditional and nationalistic Hanoi residents for Nescafe 3in1.

Big idea: 1,000 Hanoian conversations over a Nescafe

Execution: Via TVC, it featured Hanoi people discussing what they love about their city with a Nescafe cup on their hands. To support this ad, a campaign website was built in order to encourage people to share their Hanoi stories.

Results: Brand loyalty grew by 17% points, compared to previous campaign result of at best 5% points. Market share in Hanoi also increased significantly by 7.4%, much higher than its previous target of 2%.

Case study: OMO- Say it with kids

Brand: OMO- Unilever

Objectives: With Tet coming around, OMO wants to say thank you to its customers in order to increase brand loyalty and to be the most loved brand during Tet.

Big idea: Say it with kids- let the kids be OMO’s voice to thank the mothers

Execution: The brand reached school children to give them materials to plant a seed and design their own pots for their mothers.Additionally, it had a microsite for e-seed growth for kids they could not reach. Then, these pots were sent to the mothers on Tet day.

To support the campaign, TVC and outdoor advertising were applied. Noticeably, one “landmark billboard mural” made from 1 million flowers was created.

Result: Recorded to score 8.7/10 in a post-Tet track done by Nielsen, OMO was the most loved brand during Tet. Its TVC was voted to be the  favorite TVC during Tet. Moreover, the ROI of the campaign was significant, gaining a return of $2.33 for every dollar spent.

Mountain Dew in Vietnam: What’s wrong with you?

One of the worst slogans I’ve ever heard

Targeting teenagers and young adults preferring modern action sports such as parkour, skateboarding or trial biking, Mountain Dew is trying to appeal to this growing adventure-oriented and stylish segment among Vietnamese young people via its slogan: “Thỏa khí phách” (roughly translated to English as: “Satisfy the adventurous and heroic gut”). It tries to engage the word “khí phách” (“adventurous and heroic gut”)  in every article writing about Mountain Dew and even in its Facebook Status posts.


Bad slogan! Why use such a Sino-Vietnamese (Hán- Việt) word that is usually used to describe people in the older times, especially men with great vision, courage and readiness to contributing to his country?! Why use such a vocabulary that is so deeply involved in the old thinking style of people in the older generation to appeal to such a modern, fast-changing and highly-individualistic customer as such? In Vietnamese, “khí phách” often ties closely to heroes doing heroic acts. I don’t think our target customers here prefer to be called “heroes”. They are young, active, willing to take risks and especially have a strong sense of personality and uniqueness. What they are trying to do is to be themselves and experience life to the fullest,thus relating heroism to these young people is really awkward. And a bit mocking: “These people are ready to break their bones and give up their lives for these dangerous sports. Heroes!!!”


Amateurish Public Relation! Absolute failure.


Aiming at creating a buzz through a TVC showing the Bitexco Financial Tower at HCMC changing its light color and surprising people with an ad appeared on the building itself. Most of us would doubt about the truth and of course, the clip is fake. Bitexco Tower did not (and cannot) display such an ad clip on itself. Have a look at the clip:



So far, the idea does trigger curiousity among people: “Is this fake?”, “This is creative artwork if done real”. However, the failing point in this word-of-mouth generation is that Mountain Dew created curiousity, but it ended up dissatifying and annoying customers when they find out the truth. I am feeling being cheated!

But that is not the end of the story. They next make huge and hilarious amateurish mistakes when trying to spread this buzz via articles on Kenh 14, 2 sao and other young-targeted online media, on which the content is carelessly written. Read this article on Kenh14 and you will see why:

For better illustration, look over the comments (figure below) to see that people’s reactions are like yours after reading the post.


Comments kenh14


I really wonder what Mountains Dew’s current objectives are right now. Please excuse me for my direct criticism, this marketing campaign sucks. Even with good sales in the short-term ahead, Mountain Dew certainly leaves some negativity behind. Why such a big brand is doing so poorly? What I am seeing right now is its rich pocket wasting money widely everywhere, and none of which really catches my attention of its quality. Or maybe they are trying to show they are “satisfying their adventurous and heroic gut”, throwing money at the crowd and thinking that is a heroic act. There is something wrong.

[Reflection] Pizza Hut VN, stop producing that super-friendly robotic smile!


Everyone must admit their strongest impression when dining at Pizza Hut VN restaurant chain is the super-friendly customer service from its staff. In fact, they are friendly in a robotic manner that makes the situation really weird. Eating at Pizza Hut, you will be told by the waiters/waitresses to have a good meal and asked questions during the meal whether they are satisfied with the food. The problem is not with this polite and friendly customer service they try to produce, but with the repetitive, robo

tic and “mass-produced” questions and service. In my opinion, their training goes way better than staff training from other stores, but still not fully achieve the goals. Customers want good service, but not in a seem-to-be-hypocritical way like that. Really.

Beyond that, Pizza Hut seems to over-emphasize the power of customers. Their employees behave way too “servant-ly”. They always smile, bow and seem to always keep their heads low. I can feel that shy situation when some customers walk in the stores and suddenly feel like treated like V.I.Ps. And in their heads say: “They are just trained to be so. They do not really mean it. By the way, this friendliness is due to my thick pocket”. In this culture where relationship between people is important, being treated like kings so suddenly like this can create confusion and disatisfaction.

Therefore, from my point of view, the recommendation for Pizza Hut is if you want to make your service a USP, follow it properly. Once you train your employees, train them fully. Not stopping at training employees to smile and ask questions, but teach them how to do it in a more human proper manner. In addition, do not keep asking the same questions, bowing the same way and treating every customers the same. Excellent service should be customised. A good employee should be trained to be able to read the situation and apply proper manner to that, not just follow rigid rules and guidelines. You can argue that if applying this “contingent solution”, how can we supervise them? How to know when is the proper period to interupt customers meal and ask them feedback? How to know when it is better to keep silent to some customers? My argument is that it lies all in good training program. If you are able to train employees, so that they realize it is beneficial not only to the company but to themselves, they will do it without your supervision. Personal benefits should be realized.


Reflection: “Country of orgin” and marketing in Vietnam

Recently in Vietnam, people are discussing about how domestic brands can find their own competitive advantage to be able to stand against the powerful foreign brands. Campaigns are running to encourage consumers to prefer the Vietnamese brands, attacking their patriotism to make the change. But is this going to be an effective move? Do consumers choose products because of their country of origin (COO)?

To answer the first question: is COO really that important? It comes to marketing theory, the answer is it depends. According to the consumer decision making process, there are 3 types: habitual, limited and extended decision making. As we move on the next more complex decision making, the more criterias we consider before purchase. Therefore, in case of FMCGs, which belong to habitual decision making process of consumers, COO is not really that important. Does the origin of OMO, P/s, Tuong An, Chin su or Hao Hao matter? The answer is no. So, you see COO does not relaly matter to these types of products, but does it mean a COO-marketing-based will have any effect? In my opinion, yes, but no. Yes, because products belonging in this category is mostly cheap, thus few risks for consumers to try the brand. Attacking patriotism can be effective. But why no? Because many foreign brands entering Vietnam take the Vietnamese brand name. Do you think consumers will spend time to find out about this? Absolutely not. Do people know Hao Hao belongs to Acecook, a Japansese company? When people find out about this, they will be surprised just like me when i realized this fact. You see, Hao Hao is a very familiar brand, so familiar to the Vietnamese consumers that it becomes a part of us. We never thought it came from a Japanese company. Next, when consumers involve in the limited and extended decision making process, COO becomes more important a factor. In many product categories, COO is so important that you cannot attack consumers’ partriotism. A laptop, TV, motorbike or car with a Vietnamese brand? Will consumers accept that? Never. But there can be some products that a Vietnamese origin can have a great effect, such as coffee house, wood furniture and a few others, which are products strongly produced and exported by Vietnam. So, if your products belong to this category, this advantage should be taken.

What can Vietnamese brands do better to compete against international brands?

Firsly, As mentioned, only products that are able to take the advantage of being a Vietnamese brand should focus on being a Vietnamese-oriented brand. Vietnamese famous products, such as mooncakes, coffee, rice should always remember this. Secondly, Vietnamese marketers must learn professional and effective marketing, which I believe is the most important part. In fact, a lot of Vietnamese brands waste tons of money. They lack of a proper measurement and waste a lot of time and money, which could be saved if they do it more professionally. Creative creative! Vietnam brands do lack that power, but this can’t be blamed because our education and training are just beginning to upgrade. Therefore, the ultimate answer to this problem is stop talking forever about ways to make Vietnamese people accept Vietnamese brands. In fact, I believe that is solution only touching the surface. You cannot make people accept what is not good, uncreative and inefficient. Change, change, change! If Vietnamese brands want to survive, please change!