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Understanding Gen Z: OPPO's Innovative Marketing Campaign

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, Gen Z (born from 1996 onwards) stands out as a pivotal demographic. As digital natives, they hold the key to future consumer trends and media engagement. OPPO, a prominent smartphone brand, recognized the significance of Gen Z and embarked on a unique campaign titled "Understanding Gen Z." This campaign went beyond traditional marketing approaches, focusing on emotional connections and promoting responsible smartphone usage, aligning with OPPO's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.


In the tech industry, particularly the smartphone market, brands often emphasize technical features and functional benefits rather than emotional connections. Premium smartphones frequently highlight innovations like AI capabilities, fast charging, and cutting-edge designs. Conversely, mid-range smartphones typically focus on common features like high-resolution cameras and large screens, with less emphasis on emotional appeals.

OPPO had already established an emotional platform centered around "Family" relationships, promoting the idea of using smartphones to intelligently connect with life since 2014. Previous campaigns, such as "Becoming a father requires both hands" (2014), "In the secret world of a mother" (2015), and "Maintaining traditional Tet, living a modern Tet" (2016), showcased the brand's consistent approach in utilizing this platform. However, the 2018 Gen Z campaign added a unique twist by promoting smart smartphone usage.

Despite this, the "Family" theme carried a traditional connotation that many brands in various industries had explored. OPPO's challenge in this campaign was to maintain consistency with the "Family" platform while delivering a fresh narrative in a modern societal context.


OPPO aimed to build upon the success of its "Family" platform and convey its brand values more deeply and innovatively. The goal was to increase consideration for OPPO products among its target audience, enhance brand recognition, and foster a stronger emotional connection with consumers based on both product attributes and emotional values.


Research, such as Google's report on "New insights into the mobile-first mindset of teens" in the U.S. in 2016, revealed that Gen Z's first exposure to smartphones occurred at a younger age, around 12 years old. Globally, Gen Z was adopting smartphones at a rapid pace. Despite parental concerns about excessive smartphone usage, Gen Z used these devices as tools for learning, staying informed, and connecting with the world on their own terms. This generation often felt misunderstood by their parents, who perceived them as detached and addicted to their devices. Simultaneously, Gen Z believed that their parents didn't truly understand them, leading to a significant generation gap.

However, Gen Z was practical and realistic in their approach to life, using smartphones to facilitate learning, access information, and establish unique forms of connection. Moreover, they valued family relationships deeply, viewing them as profoundly meaningful. The challenge was how to bridge this generation gap and foster love without barriers.


OPPO's strategy was to target Gen Z as a Point of Market Entry (POME) audience. The brand aimed to reinforce its image as a youthful and trustworthy company while capitalizing on Gen Z's potential as digital natives who could use smartphones effectively. Gen Z's social consciousness made them an ideal audience for brands with a focus on social responsibility.

The campaign balanced features and emotions effectively. While OPPO's product, the F7, boasted functional benefits such as its AI camera capturing "Real Beauty," the emotional narrative revolved around "Real Relationship," emphasizing authentic family connections.

The campaign addressed the issue of excessive smartphone usage among Gen Z, emphasizing the importance of smart smartphone usage. The AI camera, with its "Real Beauty" feature, aligned with Gen Z's realistic approach to life, thoughts, and passions.

Lastly, the campaign exemplified the role of genuine communication as a platform. It didn't merely promote product features but also reinforced OPPO's commitment to positive social values and CSR.

Creative Idea

Changing Perspectives, Capturing Love

The central idea of the campaign was to raise awareness about the lack of communication between parents and Gen Z due to smartphones. It aimed to remind both generations that smartphones should not be barriers but tools for expressing love within families. The campaign encouraged changing outlooks and seeing the genuine passions, thoughts, and true love within their families. Smartphones, when used correctly, could become a means for deeper connections, eliminating the need to view the world solely through the smartphone screen.


The campaign was primarily executed on digital platforms, including the following key activities:

  • Viral Clips: OPPO released viral clips to generate buzz and initiate discussions about the campaign's topic.

  • Content Videos: These videos delved into the question, "Do mothers and children truly understand each other?" and featured participants like MC Tuyền Tăng and her biological mother. Emotional moments in the content videos reinforced the campaign's message.

  • Social Engagement: The campaign leveraged social media channels with hashtags like #gocnhingenz and #realbeauty. Interactive content, including comics depicting the differences between Gen Z and Gen Y, engaged the audience. OPPO encouraged user-generated content through the "Gen Z Wall," where Gen Z could share their thoughts and feelings about their passions, families, and lives.

  • Website: A dedicated microsite on Kênh 14 served as the campaign's hub, offering viral clips, content videos, interactive comics, and a Gen Z Wall.

  • Influencer Partnerships: OPPO collaborated with influencers who resonated with Gen Z to authentically convey the campaign's message. These influencers shared their stories and perspectives on family and smartphone usage.


The "Understanding Gen Z" campaign successfully achieved its objectives:

  • Increased Brand Consideration: The campaign significantly increased OPPO's brand consideration among Gen Z.

  • Emotional Connection: OPPO successfully deepened its emotional connection with its audience by addressing the generational gap and promoting positive family values.

  • Positive Social Impact: The campaign's message of smart smartphone usage and fostering family relationships had a positive social impact. It encouraged healthier digital habits while highlighting OPPO's CSR initiatives.

  • Engagement and UGC: The Gen Z Wall and interactive content generated high levels of engagement and user-generated content, creating a sense of community.

  • Media Coverage: The campaign received extensive media coverage, further amplifying its message.

In conclusion, OPPO's "Understanding Gen Z" campaign effectively combined emotional storytelling with product features to connect with Gen Z, ultimately strengthening its brand presence and leaving a lasting impression in the minds of consumers. It successfully navigated the challenges posed by the generational gap and excessive smartphone usage, positioning OPPO as a brand that not only provides innovative technology but also encourages meaningful relationships and responsible smartphone usage.


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