Winning the hearts and minds of Vietnamese people during Tết

Tammy Phan, Anil Tirunagari / November 2020

In Vietnam, Tết (Lunar New Year) is the most important and anticipated holiday of the year, a time when the country celebrates its rich traditions and rituals, and people take a moment to reflect on the past and look ahead to new beginnings.

Last year, we discussed three ways marketers could use this joyous occasion to connect with customers, providing suggestions for brands on how to cut through the clutter by developing memorable creative campaigns that speak to real consumer needs and insights.

However, this year, like other holidays around the world, people celebrated Tết a bit differently. Instead of venturing out to visit family and friends, or shop at their favorite stores, people are going online due to COVID-19, which is accelerating the country’s digital transformation.

In a recent consumer survey conducted by Google, we found that 44% of Vietnamese consumers purchased products online that they would usually buy in-store.1 At the same time, brands moved quickly to find ways to connect with customers on the platforms and channels their customers rely on for information, discovery, and creative inspiration.

Here, we take a deeper look at the survey findings, how brands in Vietnam responded to the unprecedented changes in consumer behavior during COVID-19, and how marketers can use these insights to win the hearts and minds of Vietnamese in 2021.

Inspire audiences in the lead-up to Tết

During Tết, festive seekers often turn to online video to discover seasonal content to inspire and entertain them. This year, Tết-related search on YouTube increased 8X, with people searching for videos related to entertainment, food, and rituals in the weeks leading up to the holiday.2

The gifting of red envelopes is a popular tradition during Tết, and search for “lì xì” (lucky money) on search and YouTube increased 5X in the weeks before Tết.3 Additionally, with feasting also a central part of festive celebrations, people turned to YouTube to find new home-cooked recipes. Cooking videos spiked 24% higher in the lead-up to Tết than in previous months.4

Tết-related search interest on Google Search and YouTube in the lead-up to Tết

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Suntory PepsiCo, one of the largest beverage brands in Vietnam, decided to lean into these rising seasonal trends by creating three videos for its Pepsi, Mirinda, and TEA+ Plus products. The videos celebrated families coming together to celebrate Tết, inspiring them with content that was unique to the holidays, such as the moments where people forget the names of extended family members, children expecting red envelopes filled with money, and grandparents prying into the personal lives of their grandkids. Instead of dreading these moments, Pepsi encouraged people to enjoy and celebrate this special time with their loved ones.

Knowing that 95% of internet users were on YouTube, especially during COVID-19, Suntory PepsiCo opted to integrate their TV and YouTube strategies to increase the number of people it could reach who were consuming seasonal content. With this cross-platform strategy, the brand achieved a 19% incremental increase in reach.5

Collaborate with YouTube content creators to connect with audiences

Tết is usually the most popular time for content creators to launch new videos, and this year, half of the top 10 Tết videos on YouTube were created by brands in collaboration with creators.

One of Tết’s most beloved traditions is for families to sit down and enjoy entertaining shows like Gặp nhau cuối năm (Year-End Gathering) — a satirical comedy show broadcast the night before New Year's Eve.

Fintech app ViettelPay wanted to tap into this love for cheerful and positive entertainment during Tết. The brand reached out to some of Vietnam’s most popular content creators, asking them to co-create a music video with imagery and customs unique to the festive season and Vietnamese culture.

With a subtle nod to Year-end Gathering’s traditional setting, ViettelPay’s "Làm Gì Phải Hốt" music video became the number one trending video on YouTube during the holiday period — with the video recording more than 50 million views, helping contribute to its Tết campaign’s 1.4 billion impressions and 2.8 million ViettelPay app downloads.6

The outcome of ViettelPay’s Tết campaign

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Personalize the customer experience

Vietnamese people go online during Tết not just for entertainment, but to discover new products and be inspired. During the season, 87% of Vietnamese used search, YouTube, and Maps to browse and purchase products online.7

As people look for new ways to celebrate during the Tết period, it’s a great opportunity for brands to tap into changing consumer behavior and provide more personal and relevant experiences during the moments that matter to them.

When COVID-19 halted plans to host media events and customer activations, Oppo, a mobile communications company, had to reimagine how it could engage with customers to launch its new Reno3 smartphone. The company decided to reach people on the platforms they were using the most by hosting a digital launch event on YouTube. Over 21,000 viewers attended the live stream, and 90% stayed for the entire event — significantly higher reach than any previous offline events. Oppo also delivered personalized messages to reach different audiences with help from YouTube Director Mix.

Be mindful of consumer needs and their budgets

Vietnamese consumers are mindful of their finances and will look for ideas and options that fit their budget. In our consumer survey, 37% of respondents said they will consider spending less for Tết 2021 in comparison to 2020.8

Due to a challenging year, Vietnamese people who took part in the consumer survey said they will be more mindful of their health (33%) and financial security (42%) during Tết in 2021.9 During Tết 2021, Vietnamese shoppers will be looking for brands that are focusing on health and wellness, and providing products that maximize value.

Looking ahead to Tết 2021

This consumer sentiment is likely to cause shifts in traditional habits of eating, drinking, greeting, and gifting during Tết, so think about creating content and experiences that will speak to these new consumer concerns as we move into the festive period. Be aware of the way customers want to spend their money, and help them get the most value out of 2020’s year-end gathering.

Vietnam’s search for tomorrow: Insights for brands