Lifebuoy: COVID-19: How Vietnam Beat Rest of the World


Campaign Summary

Lifebuoy contributed to Vietnam's efforts to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It built handwashing stations in high trafficked areas, it promoted hand hygiene through a viral TikTok video, and partnered with a ride-sharing service to ensure their drivers and customers stayed safe.


Objective and Context:

Vietnam's efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 have been appreciated worldwide. Vietnam's strategy to control the spread was to implement strict social distancing measures. However, essential services and many industries were still open. This meant that many people were still going out of their homes and taking a risk to support the rest of the population. Ensuring the safety of people venturing out was a big task in a country with a population of 97 million people. The government heavily relied on, among other things, an effective public communications campaign. The program included a large-scale fundraising initiative, regular messaging, and even a catchy Covid-19 prevention music video that went viral worldwide.

Lifebuoy in Vietnam always stood for being "One step ahead of infection." This was the time for the brand to step-up its efforts even more. It decided to contribute toward fighting this fierce battle with support and partnerships that helped ensure Vietnam's victory against Covid-19. Lifebouy built handwash booths for people conducting essential business. Some locations of hand sanitizing stations included:

  • Supermarkets entryways
  • Grab cars for commuters (Grab is a popular ride-sharing business)
  • Mass transit hubs like bus stands, malls, and marketplaces
  • Food courts in malls and office buildings

Target Audience:

Hand hygiene became the most important action to control the spread of COVID-19. Lifebuoy's goal was to create a behavior-change communication plan that doesn't just raise awareness, but also helps make proper hand hygiene a commonplace behavior. The brand had a dual task when it came to creating awareness. It needed to create brand benefit awareness and drive more occasions of usage awareness with new and existing users.

Creative Strategy:

Standard TV commercials were not enough. Reach-driving mediums worked on driving brand benefit, but a different approach was required to drive awareness around usage occasions. For the latter, Lifebuoy created a multi-pronged strategy. It tapped online media with great agility. When Ghen CoVy (the COVID-19 prevention video produced by Vietnam Government) became viral and was even mentioned on U.S. TV show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Lifebuoy worked to create a Handwash Dance challenge which would promote proper hand washing technique. This was shared on Tiktok, the most popular medium within the mass segment and with deep penetration in rural Vietnam.


Overall Campaign Execution:

When COVID-19's first wave hit Vietnam, consumers were bombarded with multiple messages on how to prevent the virus. Handwashing was one of the essential steps as per the public guidance issued by the World Health Organization and the Vietnam Ministry of Health. Lifebuoy immediately reached out to consumers with a Public Service Announcement and ran it across YouTube and Facebook to ask consumers to wash their hands with any available soap, not just Lifebuoy products, to prevent getting infected. Then, the brand partnered with Google to continue educating consumers through an engaging video showing the six proper steps of handwashing.

Mobile Execution:

In the early stages of COVID-19 in Vietnam, with support from the Vietnam Trade Union (a 10 million-strong youth national network), Lifebuoy set up handwashing booths at high risk areas such as train stations, hospitals, and public parks.

When the strict social distancing phase was introduced by the government, Lifebuoy kicked off the Handwashing Dance Challenge on TikTok to raise awareness for hand hygiene. This campaign also helped fundraise money which went toward creating more than 100 handwashing booths across the country, especially in rural areas. The TikTok dance challenge went viral not just on the platform, but also on Facebook and YouTube. Participants could upload their challenge videos and have fun with the campaign while at home. With each video submission and share, Lifebuoy would add $1 USD to the fund.

After the social distancing phase, Lifebuoy continued to partner with Facebook to target consumers around high-risk public locations and drive them to the nearest handwash booth within a one-kilometer radius. The brand also sponsored handwashing and sanitizing products in:

  • 3,000 schools
  • 300 shopping malls, offices, and apartments
  • 16,000 lock-down locations
  • 500 hospitals
  • 300 university entrance examination sites
  • 200 supermarkets in key infected cities as well as 15,000 markets in central and north regions

Lifebuoy additionally activated a full-year partnership with Grab to provide hand sanitizer for their transportation service (Grab Car) and food service (Grab Food) in order to remind consumers to continue to practice new handwashing and sanitizing techniques every time they are out and exposed. Now that Vietnam has been free of COVID-19, people have come back to a "new normal" life, but the habit needs to remain because COVID-19 is still present globally.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

This initiative and government partnership managed to reach more than 35 million people through both organic and paid reach. Lifebuoy connected with people around 26 times each during the campaign period.

The campaign performance result were as follows:

  • The six steps-of-proper-handwashing video reached 11 million Vietnamese every month while generating more than nine million views over the course of three months.
  • The handwash dance challenge on Tiktok lasted for five days and became the highest video view campaign of the year on Tiktok in Vietnam as of April 2020 with over 170 million video views (11 times better than market norms). Over 70,000 videos were generated by consumers and 46,000 video creators joined the challenge, exceeding the five times the local benchmark. The engagement rate achieved 1.7 times better than benchmark.
  • 113 handwash booths located in high-risk areas reached 11 million people and other hand wash and sanitizer sponsored locations also reached over three million students and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese in lockdown areas during COVID-19's first wave.
  • The partnership with Grab helped Lifebuoy reach two million people through Grab service. The partnership is forecasted to increase reach further in the second half of 2020. Lifebuoy doubled the number of samples provided for all Grab Car drivers and Grab Food orders.

Most importantly, Vietnam has been globally recognized as one of the world's most successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in both the first and second waves.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Social Distancing, Social Impact/Not For Profit, User Generated | Awards: X Bronze Winner