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Surf - Happiness Operator: Revolutionizing Rural Marketing with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Tec

In the realm of marketing and brand promotion, staying ahead of the curve is pivotal. Surf, a well-known washing detergent brand, recognized this imperative and embarked on an innovative campaign - the Surf Happiness Operator. This groundbreaking project, executed in 2015 across Vietnam's rural areas, set a new standard for consumer engagement and market penetration. In this article, we delve into the nuances of Surf's pioneering strategy and its profound impact on brand perception, sales, and market share.

Unveiling the Business Challenge

The backdrop to this ingenious campaign was the fierce competition Surf faced from local washing powder brands. These competitors leveraged lower prices and aggressive promotional tactics to capture market share, particularly in rural regions like the Mekong Delta. The challenge was real: how could Surf stand out in a landscape where consumers were quick to switch brands based on price and convenience?

Crafting the Strategy

Surf's answer to this challenge was the Surf Happiness Operator. Designed to resonate with housewives aged 25 to 40 in rural areas, Surf sought to tap into their daily moments of happiness and resilience. These women, often juggling household chores, rice fields, and cattle, found solace in the simple pleasures of life. Surf's strategy aimed to capture this spirit and enhance brand loyalty through meaningful engagement.

The Mechanism of Surf Happiness Operator

Central to this campaign was the utilization of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, a concept previously employed in India's "Missed Call" campaign. What set Surf's approach apart was its content development and local context exploration. With feature phone penetration exceeding 90% in Vietnam, this channel proved ideal for delivering the brand message and driving consumption through an immersive experience.

A Holistic Media Strategy

Surf's media strategy for the Happiness Operator campaign was well-thought-out. Primarily focusing on feature phones, the brand leveraged radio and activation events during the launch phase to build awareness. However, the true driver of success was the engaging content itself. This content not only resonated with the target audience but also facilitated word-of-mouth promotion, further amplifying its reach.

The Path to Success

The results of the campaign were nothing short of remarkable. Surf's Fiesta campaign allocation, with 70% invested in mobile platforms, proved strategic. The use of renowned celebrity Hoai Linh, engaging content, appealing rewards, and a user-friendly mechanic led to over 8.8 million calls and SMS interactions. The campaign not only met its market share and penetration goals but also induced an 18% increase in sales volume.

IVR Innovation and Consumer Engagement

Surf's ingenious application of IVR technology created a campaign that consumers found unique, exciting, and deeply meaningful. Through real-time tracking, the brand monitored consumer actions and made agile adjustments. The campaign's mechanics required no log-ins or registrations, enhancing consumer participation. Over 80% engagement length and a 96% interaction rate with Hoai Linh demonstrated the campaign's impact.

Beyond Success: A New Era of Rural Marketing

Surf's Happiness Operator campaign not only achieved its immediate objectives but also laid the foundation for future endeavors. The extensive data collected during the campaign provides valuable insights into regional preferences and usage patterns. This data, combined with the deep understanding of rural consumers, positions Surf as a trailblazer in driving rural business and delivering value to consumers.

The Future of Marketing: Surf's Legacy

Surf's innovative campaign marked a turning point in rural marketing. By leveraging IVR technology, Surf not only engaged consumers but also elevated brand perception and loyalty. The campaign's resonance with the target audience, the seamless execution of the IVR mechanic, and the resultant surge in sales and market share stand as testament to its effectiveness.


In the competitive landscape of brand marketing, Surf's Happiness Operator campaign stands tall as a beacon of creativity and innovation. By tapping into the daily moments of happiness cherished by rural consumers, Surf transformed its brand perception and sales trajectory. This groundbreaking campaign, rooted in IVR technology and tailored to local nuances, signifies a paradigm shift in rural marketing strategies. As we look to the future, Surf's legacy will continue to inspire brands to think outside the box and connect with consumers on a deeper, more meaningful level.


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