Paolo Garcia and Chandu Rajapreyar: “Vietnam’s music scene is quite a revelation”

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Paolo Garcia and Chandu Rajapreyar: “Vietnam’s music scene is quite a revelation”

Campaign Brief Asia caught up with Publicis Groupe Vietnam’s Paolo Garcia (pictured right) and Chandu Rajapreyar (pictured left), the creators of Heineken’s award-winning Juke (Music in A Can) campaign to find out all about Vietnam’s experimental, tech-savvy, mobile-centric creative scene.


The Heineken’s Juke (Music in a Can) campaign has won Bronze in Mobile at Spikes Asia earlier this year, was recently shortlisted at the Cannes Lions, and just scored 1 Gold and 1 Bronze at the New York Festivals.

It’s a campaign that epitomizes Vietnam’s creative evolution over the past decade: it puts mobile at the heart of the idea in a market that has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in Asia, it celebrates Vietnam’s vibrant music scene, and it is all made possible with technology.

Juke (Music in a Can) uses AR to promote Heineken’s sleek packaging design. What sparked this idea?
Paolo: Well, it’s quite funny really… we just put the can in front of us and stared at it for some time. Someone said: “I can’t read the product name in one go with these sleek cans” – it was an “A-HA” moment. From any angle, only two letters were visible on the can, which meant each 2-letter combination could inspire anything: songs, lyrics, artist names. This eventually led to the idea of a 2-letter AI/AR experience.

By scanning different two-letter combinations on Heineken cans, ‘Music in a Can’ allowed people to create unique Spotify playlists. Can you share some campaign results?
Chandu: It was quite amazing when we looked at the data… In total, users spent 5,200,000 hours listening to Heineken-generated music tracks. From an engagement standpoint, we witnessed an unprecedented 546,000 shared playlists across social media platforms, which smashed all our expectations.

Paolo: We have a very tech-savvy creative team who are constantly and consciously pushing for ideas that use technology to deliver innovative executions. Heineken was also bold enough to push for this campaign and get it going. Now that we’ve gained their trust, we are pursuing more creative solutions for them.


Paolo Garcia and Chandu Rajapreyar: “Vietnam’s music scene is quite a revelation”


It would be great to know a little about Vietnam’s music scene: which genres/artists are thriving?
Chandu: Vietnam’s music scene is quite a revelation for me as an outsider. The music world out here is another world. The local big musicians get 25 to 30 million views in two or three days in Vietnam compared to global big artists who sometimes take a week to get up to that number. This is a country where music genres get redefined starting from Rap to Rock: there is always a local twist with all kinds of mash-ups trending like Viet RAP and ROCK Viet. Overall, there are a lot of talented people who are changing the landscape of Vietnam’s music industry by challenging global norms.

Paolo, you joined Leo Burnett Vietnam 13 years ago. How has Vietnam’s creative scene changed in this time?
Paolo: International exposure has expanded the creative talent pool big time, and technology has made it easier to connect all these talents together. Today, creatives are expressing themselves in ways they never did 10 years ago. It’s very evident when you look at the growth of the community in recent years. Now, you get to collaborate with a sea of interesting personalities that bring different creative flavours to the table.

What’s your proudest achievement since joining?
Paolo: The focus from day one has always been to break the barriers between different agency brands and leverage the Groupe’s deep talent pool across creative, strategy, design, data, media, tech, social and PR. This has contributed to the growth of the Groupe both in terms of business size and creative reputation. It’s one thing for us to talk about our work, but to learn that other communities are studying what we’ve done and using our work as case studies is something truly gratifying. Knowing that we are part of shaping the creative landscape in this exciting country gives me great joy.

Chandu, you moved to Vietnam from Sri Lanka in 2019. How are the markets similar/different?
Chandu: What’s fun in Vietnam is the sheer size of the market being digital savvy. We also have a huge young population of Gen Z’s and millennials who are constantly seeking newer experiences, which pushes brands because they will only survive and thrive if they fulfil that need.

What are your interests outside of work?
Chandu: I am involved in an IT company that focusses on AI and Blockchain. Taking the learnings from my previous tech gadget company, which I had to shut, I’m now getting into another one… LOL.

People ask how I’m able to do all this… but for me to come up with an idea in a few days then takes up to a year for a programmer or engineer to make it… I just do the easy bit, so I’m able to manage side projects. There is also a motorcycle project that’s been hovering around for some time, a photography exhibition, quite a lot of things I want to do, but at the end of it all I’m still passionate about advertising and enjoy every bit of it.

Paolo: While Chandu focuses on making Elon Musk-type money, I’m gonna go down the sentimental road a bit on this one, ha ha. My band has been planning to record new songs. It’s been 25 years since our last album release back home in the Philippines. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait too long for me. I would love to have a 3rd album up on Spotify.

What’s your goal for the second half of 2022?
Chandu: My focus is going to be more on our people and pushing the bar on everyday work for our top clients. It’s not going to be easy with a cloud of global recession looming over all our heads. But we are confident that it is in times like these that brands try to be brave, creative, and innovative in reaching their audience.

Paolo: My professional goals are too predictable, so on a personal level, I want to try to be better at learning from my mistakes and keep focusing on the positives. It all sounds academic, but I find these things to be the most difficult to do when the situation arises. And finally, my eldest daughter has shown interest in learning how to play music. So, I’m excited to make myself a part of her musical journey, whether as a teacher or a jamming partner. Exciting times!