Alive & Thrive Viet Nam: Talking Babies Media Campaign


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Situation Analysis and Media Audit

Consultations to learn about other nutrition programs, national nutrition plan; media audit conducted by Ogilvy & Mather

Formative Research

Observations were carried out in homes, health centers, and markets.This was a quantitative survey of 1,620 pregnant women and mothers of infants, semi-structured interviews with fathers and health workers, focus groups with grandmothers, and trials of improved practices (TIPs)

Early Concept Testing

A US-based marketing firm explored ideas to learn more about mothers’ lack of confidence in their breastmilk and the kinds of “messengers” that would be most persuasive.

Concept Testing, Rounds Two and Three

For round two, a national commercial marketing firm conducted 32 focus groups to test four concepts, in order to guide decisions about messages, characters, storylines, visuals,and formats. For round three, the firm tested the appeal of three portrayals of babies, discovering that “live” talking babies idea was preferred over cartoons. They also checked that the call-to-action was clear.


The creative agency, Ogilvy & Mather, developed creative ideas; A.C. Nielsen created storyboards. A&T contracted with Indochina Research to test these with mothers and grandmothers.

Evaluation Design Wave #1 - Baseline

A&T consulted with experts in evaluation of mass media for health behaviors to develop a rigorous evaluation plan focused on A&T's mass media component. A&T also conducted its baseline in 11 provinces just prior to campaign launch, surveying 6,175 mothers with children under six months of age.

Production of TV Spots

A&T worked with a top level commercial agency to produce emotional TV spots and other materials that would “cut through the clutter” of a sophisticated advertising environment.

Media Buy

A&T created a media plan to reach 85% of the target audience (women 18-35 years old) at least three times. The team sought ways to economize, avoided airing during Tet holiday (New Year) when audience would be distracted

Campaign Launch, First Burst

The “Breastmilk Only” and “No Water” TV spots were launched in November 2011. The launch was planned to maximize reach, with a three+ reach of 85% (meaning that 85% of target audience would be reached at least three times).

Subsequent Bursts

The campaign ran intermittent bursts of three to six weeks each, with breaks of two to 16 weeks. This occurred between November 2011 and May 2014.

Evaluation Waves #2 - #4

These were conducted in four of the 11 provinces, using a shorter questionnaire, surveying over 2000 mothers with children under six months. This activity was timed to coincide with the end of a burst of TV advertising. Each wave was with a new cohort of mothers, since the team was interviewing only mothers with children under six months. This was carried out October 2012; April 2013; October 2013.

Evaluation Wave - Endline

This was conducted in all 11 provinces where the team had conducted baseline, surveying 6,240 mothers with children under six months of age.

A&T’s job was ‘proof of concept’: We’ve demonstrated that, with the right resources ... and a strategic approach to behavior change, a large country CAN scale up nutrition and can change breastfeeding practices in five short years.
Nemat Hajeebhoy, Senior Country Director, Alive & Thrive/Viet Nam