Pepsico Vietnam is the only company in Vietnam with a marketing director who specialises in sports and music, part of a growing trend attaching a brand to a sporting event to advertise a trademark.
Pepsi has defined a strategy for a new generation of customers who are young and active: sports and music.
From sales promotion…
Following the strategy of its parent group, Pepsi, Pepsico Vietnam has availed itself of the selling power of football, attaching its name to a popular sport to maximise exposure.
After the success of a campaign to lobby for Vietnam’s participation in the Tiger Cup 1998, Pepsico Vietnam has signed a contract with the Vietnam Football Federation before the 23rd SEA games (VFF) providing the national football team VND1bil through a promotional programme, called “Travelling with the Vietnamese National Football Team to Win Gold”. The slogan of this programme: Are you a Vietnamese football fan? Let’s do something, and the smallest contribution is drinking a Pepsi product, which contributes VND50 to Vietnamese football.
The goal of Pepsi’s programme, officials say, is to raise VND1bil within three months, for which Pepsico Vietnam must sell 20mil bottles of the soft drink, reaping the commercial benefit along the way of creating brand recognition among the entire football-viewing public.
Number One’s success
Pepsico is taking the place of Kinh Do in sponsoring the V-League 2005 with the “Number One Soft Drink Product” concept. With funding of around $600,000, “Number One” has gained many new customers, with an audience of around 1mil for 132 matches. A total of 50 matches were broadcast live by Vietnam Television and then re-broadcast by other local TV stations. Pepsico estimates that the Number One concept was seen 500mil times.
According to the Dat Viet Advertising Company, there were thousands of articles about the Number One V-League promotion during the tournament within seven months and around 600mil readers knew the trademark. The number familiar with it after the tournament may reach over 1bil. Number One, a tonic drink which is competing with many similar products, spent less than VND10 per head to promote the brand name.
Still a stormy market
Developing professional football makes the Vietnamese football market a fertile place to promote products. Apart from the first-division teams, 12 professional teams are backed by companies with company name linked to the team name: Dong Tam Brick – Long An, Hoang Anh – Gia Lai, Binh Duong – Becamex, and Dong A – Pomina are some examples.
However, the relationship between football and business can be stormy at times, as in the case of Song Lam Nghe An – Pjico (Petroleum Insurance Company). A manager at Pijco lamented that sponsoring for football is very risky and could harm the company’s reputation.
Then there is the case of Ton Hoa Sen, linked with the Can Tho team. The firm’s director said publicly that foreign footballers of this team were “purchased,” causing a scandal simply to market his brand name.
One director of a sport marketing company even cried when he couldn’t sign contract with a football player to advertise for his client just because the player doesn’t love taking photograph. Under the viewpoint of a businessman, he couldn’t understand why this player can stop playing football just because he couldn’t receive the promised bonus worth VND2mil while is ready to refuse VND100mil just because he doesn’t like taking photograph.
Though football is a highly risk market, brand-name developers still rush into this market because the attractiveness of this sport.