With competition constantly leveling up with new tastes and flashy packaging, Coke has not been the most consumed beverage among Vietnamese teens, despite always being the most loved brand.

Turning the love from 8 million teen drinkers into actual purchases, is therefore critical to Coke’s business than ever. Current communication led by contest-based mechanisms for teens did not seem to work. To make a step-change, we had to turn our approach from push to pull. Vietnamese teens don’t like to be told what they should do. The strongest influence often comes from their friends.

We decided to make Coke that vital source of energy teens were looking for. We wanted Coke to be the language that connects teens with each other. 



We knew that teens get vital energy from expressing what they feel to their groups, via posts, texts, fun videos, emoticons, GIFs, memes and especially, chat stickers. Those messaging tools liberate them from getting stuck with texts. They have become a universal language that connects teens with each other. In fact, there are 78% of our teens using smartphones, with mobile messaging making up 65% of their usage. 



Building brand advocacy to influence teens was the strategy this time. While using an expensive teen idol with expensive media package (with PR, social media, and countless events) seems to be the market’s norm, we decided to make teens and themselves the advocates for Coke.

Big idea

Inspired by emoticons, a symbol of expression used in all common messenger apps, we created a movement called “SAY IT WITH A COKE – EmotiCokes to express what you feel”. Via Zalo mobile messenger, we made Coke’s new Emoticans the hottest sticker design of summer 2015. During summer, mobile messaging usage among teens peaks as more redundant time comes.


Led by the launch of new can designs, we engaged our target teen drinkers in a deep 360-degree connection with 3 phases:



Phase 1

In the first phase, we excited consumers by introducing Emoticoke by 3 sticker sets on Zalo as a unique fun way to chat with friends. It quickly became their favourite. 

Phase 2

Continued with that success, in the 2nd phase, we surprised teens with “emoticon lyric”, knowing that music is the 2nd most shared items among teen groups. To reach more teen users online, via Zing News, Bao Moi, Zing TV, we created a series of customized ads with different messages with different emoticons. They could even use Emoticokes to comment on their favorite content. 

Phase 3

In the last phase, once again, we brought teens surprise by letting them create their own Emoticoke chat stickers, with their own photos. This is the first time this new technology was introduced in Vietnam. Users only need to take a “selfie” and pick a template among 30 choices of cute GIF emoticon sticker designs, and make a unique sticker that represents themselves. The personalized emoticon stickers quickly take over Zalo messenger network and Facebook for the last two weeks of the campaign.


Phase 1: Sticker on Zalo

Phase 1: Sticker on Zalo

Phase 1: Sticker on Zalo

Phase 3: Emoticoke chat stickers

Phase 3: Emoticoke chat stickers





The results blew our mind. 

  • Partnership with Zalo helped us to reach the majority of teens in Vietnam, who made up 85% of Zalo’s current user base.
  • The campaign has reached 1.1 Billion media impressions.
  • Emoticoke stickers broke Zalo’s record of the most downloaded branded sticker set of all time, with 2 million downloads within the first week of launch. At the end, we garnered in total 11.7 million sticker downloads, 10 times higher than Zalo’s current most-downloaded one. This helped Coke to completely own mobile and got teens all over the nation to fall in love with Coke, yet again.
  • More than 52 million EmotiCokes were shared via Zalo messenger apps, with an average 10 Emoticokes per user. That means each teens did advocate for Coke to their friends more than 10 times! Consequently, Coke sales was boosted by 30% compared to “Share a Coke” campaign last summer, which was considered the most successful ever Coke campaign in Vietnam.

Source: MMA

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