Chin-Su Chili: How This Chili Sauce Became an Inspiration Youth Movement


Campaign Summary

Chin-Su Chili Sauce wanted to increase brand awareness and preference with young consumers.



Suffering the same fate with other condiment brands, Chin-Su Chili sauce struggles to create connection with its consumers and therefore, is still perceived as a commodity. This was not a problem until Chin-Su is faced with the rise of new-comers who effectively leverage low pricing to attract buyers. As the market leader, Chin-Su is taking the hit the hardest and wants to break this "commodity" curse of low-involvement price-sensitive category.

For the larger part of 2020, every nation was plagued by the pandemic and Vietnam was no exception. Through the process of dealing with COVID-19, everyone is afflicted with the stress and downs of never-ending work-from-home (WFH) days, separation from loved ones, and school project calls.

This social situation presented a unique opportunity for the brand — both to enhance its meaningfulness in consumer life and increase brand connection with young people.

Target Audience:

The target audience focused on "young-at-heart foodies" between the ages of 15 and 35 who have dynamic lifestyles.

Creative Strategy:

To connect with consumers, Chin-Su chili sauce had to identify its meaning in consumer life beyond good food. After digging deep into spice science, the brand unearthed a powerful product insight: Spice not only uplifts the taste of foods but also triggers the release of endorphin, the "happy" hormone. In other words, consumers now can turn to spice to enhance their food and mood, which is what they need the most to stave off the psychological ramifications of the pandemic. Hence, "Food Tastes Happy with Chin-Su" became the brand's platform insight, upon which the future campaigns would be built.

This insight enabled Chin-Su to create a paradigm-shift in its creative strategy: Chin-su would pair with emotions, instead of pairing foods, because the shift organically generated opportunities for the brand to tap into consumer emotions.


Already the dominant market leader, Chin-Su chili sauce aims to build connection with consumers. However, the current logical approach — pairing chili sauce with as many dishes as possible proved to be unpersuasive to consumers. This campaign marked the first time Chin-Su chili sauce escalated their function of a brand platform to emotional.


Overall Campaign Execution:

For awareness, Chin-Su hijacked #MLEMMLEM — a trendy slang for "delicious" — and launched a pop-banger with so-called name. The music video took inspiration from the current popular K-drama series Mystic Pop-up Restaurant where customers entered, feeling down from their personal problems, and left after eating great foods with Chin-Su Chili Sauce, making them, feel happier. This well-crafted music video, coupled with its hash-taggable name, instantly became a popular song among young people where people embedded the song in their food-related stories across social platforms.

Then Chin-Su tailored the insight into different social communities with different passion points: "Feeling angst because your soccer team lost? Enjoy hot chicken wings with Chin-Su happy spice to feel happier. Or disappointed because your score doesn't look good? Enjoy hot pizza with Chin-Su happy spice to cheer up. Or you're stressed out, running deadlines? Enjoy hot rice-crackers for a break-snack with Chin-Su."

Chin-Su created social-native activities to capture engagement. Firstly, the brand created MLEM-MLEM stickers inspired by the main key opinion leaders (KOLs) for the campaign with fun trendy asks for people to send to each other as an invitation to eat with Chin-Su.

Secondly, the brand tapped into the social phenomenon of people taking photos of their food and created a nationwide competition where people could take pictures of their local dishes corresponding to their moods.

Mobile Execution:

The campaign is hard-wired for mobile-social audiences to capture trend momentum and social behaviors. Using a trendy youth slang on social media helped capture trend momentum and search words. Moreover, the song was released on all social media (such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) for users to embed in user-generated content such as stories to help raise awareness.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign witnessed a sales spike of 38 percent from increased consumption with more emotion-led occasions. For a brand with little-to-none brand love, the brand received a whopping 2.5 million interactions, 50 percent of which was brand mention.

The campaign went on to earn 60 PR articles and was featured on Vietnam TV, a national TV channel. This is the first campaign from MASAN Consumers Ltd. that is crisis-free, which resulted in the net sentiment score reaching 100 percent.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Social Media Marketing | Awards: X Bronze Winner