Citizen’s Spectacular US VinFast Launch

Though well known in its homeland, VinFast needed to build its reputation in the U.S. quickly and with a clear message to garner support for both the brand and the slate of cars scheduled to be sold in the market.

The Grand Store Opening project allowed Citizen to make VinFast more than a curiosity – it made them a brand worth taking note of and giving serious consideration for purchase.
VinFast officially arrived in the U.S. in a BIG way – opening six of what will be 30 stores throughout California.

In front of a full crowd of eager media, dignitaries and customers, the main event at Santa
Monica Place kicked off on a huge stage, surrounded by VinFast branding. The event started with a live speed painting performance by Revel, followed by a keynote from VinFast Chief Customer Officer Craig Westbrook. Craig introduced VinFast, unveiling the VF 8 amongst a fury of pyrotechnics before highlighting key features, and even shared some banter with the onboard VinFast Voice Assistant. All of it was simulcast to a global audience.

Before musical guest AleXa took the stage, Craig invited hosts from all 5 satellite stores watching the live stream to pick up their scissors and join him in the ceremonial ribbon cutting, officially opening VinFast stores in California.

To reinforce branding to a new consumer audience, VinFast secured three additional branding opportunities throughout Santa Monica Place at Center Plaza Fascia (upper and lower levels), Center Plaza Circle Barricade Wrap, and 4 x Single-sided backlit signs.

The creative advertising promoted the theme of the event, highlighting how “The Future of Mobility Has Arrived.” It helped create an immersive experience for mall patrons and provided a backdrop for the staging and live-stream video content.
Following the ceremony, everyone was directed to the VinFast store to experience the vehicles along with light Vietnamese-inspired refreshments.

The Experiential Strategy

They started by understanding who the VinFast audience was in these key markets, exploring how to create a meaningful experience that would drive buzz and awareness around the showroom opening.

Every city in California is different and extremely diverse. The team recognized the need to play up each location’s nuance; however, being a simultaneous launch with a global broadcast, it also needed to be cohesive, as the brand is still unknown and in its infancy.
The initial concept was to host all the events on the same day and time but be stand-alone; however, that felt disconnected. So, they pivoted the execution to host one major event (in Santa Monica) and simulcast to the other locations. Having each location “hosted” allowed for the injection of local nuance while simultaneously creating cohesion in the actual event itself.
They further created differentiation through catering by adjusting the menu, so it leaned into the local audience while at the same time maintaining the essence of Vietnamese culture.
Ultimately, the final output and engagement laddered back to the core brand objectives of creating a major splash in the California market with the introduction of the VinFast showrooms.

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