Already the first Vietnamese car brand to take national market share away from foreign brands, VinFast wanted to give the nation of Vietnam another first — its first electric vehicle. With the launch of its VF e34 model, VinFast used organic social media buzz and a PR campaign to drive a pre-order campaign that was likely the most successful in the history of Vietnam.
In the nearly three decades since Vietnam legalized international trade, foreign car brands have held 100 percent of the market share. That was until two years ago, when Vietnamese car brand VinFast unveiled its first models and took a considerable bite out of the previously foreign brand-dominated market. Wanting to build on this success and with the ambition of creating a better future for all, VinFast endeavored to design and release Vietnam's first electric car — the VF e34.
The target for this campaign was men aged 35 to 45 with families.
For this campaign, the creative strategy was crafted with four key goals in mind:
With these goals, VinFast went forward with the "Pre-order the future" tagline. The idea was that VinFast, a brand that was a symbol of what the Vietnamese could do, would take a step forward, not just building a better car, but also a better future.
Because the VF e34 was the first smart car and electric vehicle in Vietnam, it opened a new category in the automotive industry. Agility and adaption were keys for success. VinFast conducted regular customer surveys, which were used to quickly make changes to key messaging and to adjust which channels were being used to drive the campaign. This ensured that all ads were engaging potential customers with messages they connected to and on channels they preferred.
Overall Campaign Execution:
In March of 2021, VinFast announced the VF e34 pre-order program in Vietnam with no prior announcement. The surprise announcement became a hot topic for discussion, both on major media outlets and on social media.
Because even early adopters had doubts about the batteries and pricing of electric vehicles, VinFast offered potential customers the ability to rent the VF e34 battery instead of buying it outright. This eliminated a significant cost barrier. With a down payment of just $500, customers could make their pre-orders.
The campaign leveraged e-commerce, and 70 percent of all pre-orders — 3,692 in the first twelve hours after the announcement — came online. The brand also surveyed the first 1,000 buyers, allowing it to use their feedback to adapt campaign content and placement. The VF e34's ordering website also featured a 360-degree view of the car's interior and exterior, as well as the vehicle's smart features.
To make the VF e34 even more desirable, VinFast hosted a live event called, "Khám phá tương lai xanh" (Discover the blue future), which was designed to let potential buyers know that they could pre-order the future for a reasonable cost. The event accounted for 1,000 orders in car dealership showrooms around Vietnam.
Finally, VinFast partnered with the Vietnam Design Association to sponsor a design contest, "Future Blue Innovation 2021," which generated 230,000 interactions and inspired extensive user-generated content.
All assets were mobile-friendly in design. The official ordering website's 360-degree experience was meant to be enjoyed on mobile phones. Customers could make deposits and payments quickly through the mobile version of the website.
The rollout of the VF e34, the first-ever electric vehicle in Vietnam, was a huge success for the VinFast brand:
VinFast spent no money on paid media and the buzz was generated primarily through organic media and more than 1,000 features in leading Vietnamese publications. There were 417,500 discussions about the VF e34 tracked on social media and more than 1,000 influencers changed their Facebook profile pictures to feature a custom frame for the new car. Content from VinFast accounts was shared 11,000 times, garnering 700,000 likes and 89,000 comments. Outside of Vietnam, there were 350 articles written about the car for major publications.
A report from Buzzmetrics stated that "within 2 days, VinFast set a record of more than 400,000 organic discussions on social media, higher than one-month volume of a FMCG campaign."
With a pre-order sale volume of more than $650 million, the campaign was likely Vietnam's biggest pre-order campaign of all-time. Impressively, VinFast only spent half of its campaign budget.