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JWT Vietnam’s viral campaign for Abbott’s adult nutrition redefines category


When Parents Tell Lies’, an online film created by JWT Vietnam for Abbott’s Ensure adult nutrition drink, tells the stories of stoic Vietnamese parents who made tough sacrifices for their families: the doting mother who serves the choice food to her kids, telling them she’s already full; the sick mom who hides her illness from her child; the father who’s teenaged daughter asks him to drop her off a short distance away from her cool, well-dressed friends. When the friends notice him anyway, he pretends to be her taxi driver. The children ache when they realize what their parents have done to make their own lives better.

This stark and poignant film is part of a broader activation campaign that encourages adult Vietnamese to repay the love of their aging parents with a gift of health, with Ensure. Leveraging unique truths of Vietnamese life and its dominant cultural theme of filial piety, JWT Vietnam created an activation program comprising of digital, on-ground and PR designed to disrupt the category and drive sales.

“Filial piety takes on a whole new tenor in a nation like Vietnam, which is changing fast but is still very much a developing country. A generation of Vietnamese undertook untold hardships to give their children a better life, while gracefully hiding the pain within. Today’s upwardly-mobile Vietnamese have an innate desire to reciprocate, but they often get caught up in their busy, modern lives,” said Saby Mishra, CEO of JWT Vietnam. “We wanted to position Ensure as a brand that can resolve that tension, with a clear message and strong call to action.”

The integrated campaign, which was conceptualized and managed by JWTPR, a division of JWT Vietnam, kicked off with the launch of the viral film in September. The film directs consumers to a microsite where they can record a personal message in their own voice for their parents, and send a ‘Gift of Love’ box of Ensure, a powdered drink for people over 50 that provides the nutrients and supplements they need to maintain an active lifestyle. The site included other features, including a ‘family dating’ column that encourages adult children to spend more time with their folks, and professional advice on how caregivers could take better care of their aging parents.

‘When Parents Tell Lies’ has struck a chord with Vietnamese consumers: the online video has garnered more than 921,200 views, and has sparked an intense online conversation in this nation of 90 million consumers, generating print and online news coverage, as well as posts from Vietnamese celebrities, on the subject and the brand. Sales of Ensure have jumped over 20% since the campaign launched.

“JWT’s deep cultural fluency and their unique insights about the parent-child human condition in the Vietnamese context has hit the mark in the most inspiring way, and results show that consumers clearly agree,” said Mai Nguyen, Business Unit Director at Abbott Vietnam.

While adult nutrition drinks are widely used in health care facilities in Asia, growth has yet to reach its true potential.

"The success of this campaign is an example of how to consumerize what is considered a serious category, and drive scale by using superior insights,” said Mishra.

About JWT
JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has been inventing pioneering ideas for the past 150 years. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge — from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content today

JWT opened its first office in Asia in 1929, and today employs over 3,800 people in 53 offices across 18 countries in the region.

For more information, please visit and follow us @JWT_Worldwide. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

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