One of the world’s most famous television formats is the quiz show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” It was an instant hit and has been an enduring one.

The reason why is pretty evident from the title. Participants stand to win a lot of money, much more than these kinds of quiz shows had previously been offering.

Here in Vietnam, we have gone one better. For the second year running, THP has offered its customers the opportunity to become a billionaire (Giải tỷ phú) through our Tear Right Away and Win Right Away (Xé ngay trúng liền) promotional campaign.

Our initial campaign in 2021 was so successful that this year we awarded even more prizes. In 2022, we have made one person a billionaire, nine people a millionaire (up from three last year) and awarded a total of 277,4000 prizes, ranging from VND10,000 to VND50,000 while the campaign was running from April to July.

These kinds of promotional campaigns prove to be win-win in every sense of the word if they are executed well. For customers, the results can literally be life changing.

Our one billion Viet Nam Dong award is worth about US$42,700 at the current exchange rate (August 2022). This is a large sum of money in Vietnam where the statutory monthly minimum wage ranges from VND4,420 (US$189) in region 1 (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh) to VND3,250,000 (US$138) in region 4 (rural areas).

The campaign embodies THP’s “Nothing is Impossible Spirit” since anyone can win. All participants have to do is buy one of our three main brands  – Number 1 Energy Drink, Dr Thanh’s Herbal Tea or Zero Degree Green Tea – tear off a label and then text a code.

This year, our billionaire winner was HHLK, a 26-year old young man from Đức Hòa, a rural district in Vietnam’s South Western Mekong Delta. And he was so astounded by his win that he only finally believed that it was true when officials from his commune confirmed it for him. Like most Vietnamese, he also takes his filial duties very seriously and is giving half of his winnings to his parents. He and his wife are still deciding what to do with the rest.

Campaigns that transform lives like this are perfectly aligned to the science of what makes humans happy. Research by Yale University neuroscientist Robb Rutledge shows that feeling happy depends less on how well we think things are going in life and more on whether we feel they are going better than expected.

From a marketer’s perspective, gamification (turning promotions into games) is also a well-established tool to boost customer engagement and sales revenue. Such promotions help to create an emotional bond between a brand and its customers in a fun and exciting ways.

So too, they not only forge deeper relationships with existing customers, but also help to win new ones. For example, one of this year’s millionaire winners was TQD, a grade-12 student from Vĩnh Long Province, also in the Mekong Delta. He reported that his neighbours – after congratulating him on his win – all starting buying Zero Degree Green Tea in the hope of winning too.

The more popular the campaign, the greater the buzz it creates. Successful campaigns can, therefore, generate plenty of free marketing across the media.

They also provide us with valuable feedback about how customers view our different brands. They are a learning and brand re-affirming experience for us, which we can then turn into new marketing materials.

Take Mr VDP, another millionaire winner from Tây Ninh, a province bordering neighbouring Cambodia. The 27-year old is a salesman who has to travel a lot for work. He told us, plus the country’s media, that he often buys Zero Degree Green Tea because it refreshes his body and his soul after a long day on the move.

Then there is Pham Linh a construction engineer working in the city of Can Tho. He and his colleagues eagerly told the Vietnamese press that they had won more than 10 cash prizes over the course of this year’s campaign. “I either buy Number 1 Energy Drink or Dr Thanh’s Herbal Team every day,” he said. “It’s very hot working on a construction site, but the two drinks help me to cool down my body and increase my strength. They’re so refreshing.”

In advanced economies, promotional campaigns have the power to transform people’s lives. What’s different in Vietnam is the extent to which they do so. Our economy is expanding rapidly and living standards are rising with it, but at the end of the day we are currently a middle-income country with a large rural hinterland.

So for some people, winning lifts them out of a subsistence existence. Last year’s billionaire winner was one such: LLTB, a lady from the Cham ethnic minority in Đồng Xuân, a rural district in Phú Yên province in South Central Vietnam.

She said that she couldn’t believe just how dramatically her life had changed. “I never dreamed of being rich,” she commented. “I just dreamed of not being hungry, having enough rice so my children could go to school with full stomachs.”

In the year since her win, LLTB has given VND50 million to her neighbours and purchased two cows. She had been planning to re-build her house, but had to wait because of the pandemic. But, this is now her next step, as well as buying a plot of land, so that she will no longer need to work for someone else as a labourer.

These kinds of real life case stories make everyone at THP feel extremely happy too. They give everyone working at the company a huge sense of fulfilment. We are passionate about helping others.

Our third core value is to be “Responsible to the Community and Society.” We aim to make a positive impact in the community and all markets where THP operates.

The Billionaire Competition is perfectly aligned to this value. In 2022, we built on 2021’s success. And in 2023, we will be back again, transforming lives and quenching thirst throughout the nation.