P&G: Head & Shoulders Celebrates the Mispronunciation of its Brand to Drive Affinity Across Vietnam


Campaign Summary

Head & Shoulders celebrated the mispronunciations of its brand name across Vietnam to drive brand affinity and increase its penetration in the haircare category. The brand worked with Vietnamese influencers across the country to create a lighthearted viral video campaign that empowered it to compete with Clear, its greatest competitor in the region.



Head & Shoulders has one of the lowest unaided brand awareness (UBA) ratings in the category at 23 percent. Clear, a haircare brand, remained the No. 1 choice for consumers. Despite quantitative inputs such as H&S TV helping the brand compete with Clear, brand awareness had not improved, limiting its ability to increase penetration and market share. Head & Shoulder's objective was to improve its UBA, which was 31 points below Clear's. The brand wanted to increase its UVA by five points within a quarter and close the awareness gap with Clear.

One of the challenges of the Vietnam market is that it's a country of 100 million people with 63 provinces, with each region speaking different dialects with unique pronunciations. Moreover, English is less commonly used as a foreign language and has an even lower penetration in rural regions.

Head & Shoulders found that consumers' difficulty pronouncing its brand name had a negative impact on overall brand recall. Head & Shoulders is translated into over 100 phrases across different regions that amusingly translate to comical meanings such as "Hít sô đa" (breath soda) in the south, "Hết sầu đơ" ("stop being sad and frozen") in the north and "Đét èn sâu" ("hit the worm") in central Vietnam.

Target Audience:

Head & Shoulders' target audience were Vietnamese consumers between 18 and 45 years of age suffering from dandruff and itchy scalp problems. With Clear comprising 60 percent of the scalp segment, the campaign also targeted their customers to compel them to make the switch.

Creative Strategy:

Celebrating the funny mispronunciations could make Head & Shoulders more memorable. The brand could put a positive spin on a consumer pain point that would create viral campaign.

The campaign, "One Brand — 100 Names — One Solution to Dandruff" took the most popular mispronunciations of Head & Shoulders across Vietnam and celebrated all the ways Vietnamese people pronounce it. Whatever consumers call Head & Shoulders, they can be confident that it's the solution to their dandruff and scalp issues.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Head & Shoulders picked the top three most amusing and common mispronunciations of its brand name from the biggest regions and brought them to life through humorous songs and dances. This enabled the brand to tackle the tension positively, owning the challenge and celebrating it in a way that would drive awareness.

Head & Shoulders partnered with Isaac, one of the most popular singers/actors, and other key opinion leaders (KOLs) in Vietnam across the three main regions that were mispronouncing the brand.

The main launch asset was transformed into three shorter videos for the three different Vietnamese regions (north, south, and central). These shorter assets were later pushed into specific regional buys for phase two of the campaign and leveraged as a more effective hook to target those viewers yet to see the main campaign.

The brand wanted to bring its campaign to life beyond traditional TV/digital activations, so it created conversations even prior to launch by teasing assets on KOLs pages a few days before the launch. Head & Shoulders also partnered with press and TV news outfits, including Kenh 14, 24h, Ngoisao, and collaborated with two of the biggest online content platforms in Vietnam, Pops and Yeah1, to serve customized content across online communities and fan pages.

Additionally, Head & Shoulders rolled out minigames and quizzes encouraging consumers to share even more ways they pronounce the brand in their hometowns, kicking it off on KOL pages to drive participation from their followers.

Mobile Execution:

The media to production budget ratio for the campaign was 70:30, with investment skewed toward consumer fronting media channels, while keeping production cost for manifesto videos, song creation, campaign masthead design, and contest management to a minimum.

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

The campaign generated 1 million views within eight hours of its launch and reached 10 million views within three weeks of airing. Head & Shoulders overdelivered across all KPIs and set new historical records for the brand, including:

  • The highest-ever UBA at almost 38 percent growing 174 percent versus the previous year.
  • Its equity score growing 170 percent versus the previous year.
  • Earning the highest-ever value share at over 10 percent, a 107 percent increase compared to the previous year (compared to Clear at 97 percent).
  • Clear hit its lowest share historically post campaign.
  • Penetration grew 112 percent versus a last year.
  • The view through rate (VTR) of the main video asset was 39 percent, 6 percent greater than the benchmark.
  • The regional edits showed even better effectiveness with 41 to 45 percent VTR across the three different regions demonstrating how the changes in language helped the message cut through.
  • The program was the only campaign from Vietnam to win an Effies APAC award in 2021.

The campaign was an eye opener in how tension could be leveraged to drive positive association and affinity. The campaign also shared the following lessons for the market to follow:

  • Embrace challenge: Not all challenges are to be taken head-on. Sometimes the solution lies in good, old-fashioned humor.
  • Respect consumer diversity: Consumers are diverse in terms of culture, language, and behavior. Brands need to respect the diversity among the consumers they want to reach and rise to the challenge.
  • Use of influencers: The role of the influencer can go beyond credibility. They can be used to reach consumers in their voice.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Short or Long Form Video | Awards: X Global Silver Winner