top of page

Coca-Cola's Say it with Emoticans Campaign: Turning Teens into Advocates

In a competitive market where new flavors and flashy packaging continually emerge, Coca-Cola faced the challenge of turning its status as the most loved brand among Vietnamese teens into actual purchases. With current contest-based communication strategies failing to resonate with this demographic, Coca-Cola sought to shift its approach from push to pull, making teens advocates for the brand.


Understanding that teens derive vital energy from expressing themselves to their peers through posts, texts, fun videos, emoticons, GIFs, memes, and chat stickers, Coca-Cola aimed to become the language connecting teens with one another. Mobile messaging had become a universal language for this demographic, with 78% of Vietnamese teens using smartphones, and 65% of their mobile usage dedicated to messaging.


The strategy was to build brand advocacy among teens by making them advocates for Coca-Cola. Rather than relying on a costly teen idol and an expensive media package, the campaign aimed to empower teens to advocate for Coca-Cola themselves.

Creative Idea

Inspired by the popularity of emoticons in common messenger apps, Coca-Cola launched the "SAY IT WITH A COKE - EmotiCokes to express what you feel" movement. Through Zalo mobile messenger, Coca-Cola introduced Emoticans as the hottest sticker design of summer 2015. This initiative coincided with the peak of mobile messaging usage among teens during the summer months.


The campaign unfolded in three phases:

Phase 1: Coca-Cola introduced Emoticoke with three sticker sets on Zalo, offering teens a unique and fun way to chat with friends. It quickly became a favorite.

Phase 2: Building on the success of the stickers, the campaign introduced "emoticon lyrics," capitalizing on music's popularity among teen groups. Customized ads with various messages and emoticons were shared on platforms like Zing News, Bao Moi, and Zing TV. Users could even use Emoticokes to comment on their favorite content.

Phase 3: In the final phase, Coca-Cola allowed teens to create their own Emoticoke chat stickers using their photos. This was the first time such technology was introduced in Vietnam. Users could take a "selfie," choose from 30 cute GIF emoticon sticker designs, and create unique stickers representing themselves. These personalized emoticon stickers quickly gained popularity on Zalo messenger and Facebook.


The campaign's results exceeded expectations:

  • Partnership with Zalo enabled Coca-Cola to reach 85% of Vietnamese teens, who made up the majority of Zalo's user base.

  • The campaign garnered 1.1 billion media impressions.

  • Emoticoke stickers set a new record on Zalo as the most downloaded branded sticker set, with 2 million downloads within the first week and a total of 11.7 million sticker downloads, ten times higher than Zalo's previous record.

  • More than 52 million EmotiCokes were shared via Zalo messenger apps, averaging over 10 Emoticokes per user.

  • Coca-Cola's sales increased by 30% compared to the previous "Share a Coke" campaign, which was already considered one of the most successful Coca-Cola campaigns in Vietnam.

The Say it with Emoticans campaign not only engaged Vietnamese teens but also turned them into enthusiastic advocates for Coca-Cola, showcasing the power of creative and relatable marketing strategies in connecting with this demographic.


bottom of page