The Brands Successfully Marketing to Gen Z | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

The Brands Successfully Marketing to Gen Z

By Joanna Fragopoulos

Members of gen Z have been the focus of many brand campaigns in recent years, as companies hope to win over younger people and create loyalty, awareness, and favorability. As a generation that is entering the workforce, that comprises 30 percent of the global population, and that is growing, changing, and at the heart of trends, gen Z offers brands a unique audience with whom to engage.

The latest (2022) Smarties Awards showcase and highlight campaigns that do just this. Below are some award-winning campaigns that effectively connect and engage with gen Z.


The iconic brand partnered with tech platform Grivy to gain consumer-journey insights and help the brand leverage them to gain traction with generation Z consumers in Indonesia. The brand set out to appeal to gen Z during break moments. According to the ANA case study, the brand "achieved a whopping 69 percent conversion at the lower funnel, driving millions of transactions through Indonesia's largest retail chains Alfamart and Indomaret."


Pepsi sought to engage gen Z through music. Its "My Music My Way" campaign leveraged AI to inspire gen Z and enable them to express themselves. The users were able to create their own music with AI support through Pepsi's digital music platform.


Heineken aimed to engage with Vietnamese generation Z consumers through a digital-first omnichannel campaign. The campaign was "a gamified experience in which consumers could collect 'eKoin' by engaging with the brand and redeem the branded currency for once-in-a-lifetime experiences," as explained in the ANA case study.


Indonesian ecommerce company Blibli sought to win over people between the ages of 15 and 35 who lived in urban areas — and who happen to enjoy trends. As part of this effort, the company partnered with an influencer to create a jingle, "Pasti Puas." However, the fun part of the campaign was community-driven as it allowed people create their own karaoke version of the song.

Maybelline New York

Maybelline's "Lì 2.0: Empowering Gen Z with Daring Makeup Transformations" campaign leveraged TikTok to create awareness and conversion among gen Z makeup consumers. The ANA case study states that "mobile played a central role in the campaign, accounting for 89 percent of the media budget. The brand allocated 25 percent of the investment to YouTube music videos for thematic content and 75 percent to TikTok for product reviews and tutorial content created by influencers."

Sting Red

To engage more effectively with gen Z in Vietnam, beverage brand Sting Strawberry created a mobile game "that allowed users to explore new places and win prizes from the comfort of their own homes," according to the ANA case study. The game also allowed people to win swag as well as a trip to Son Doong, the world's largest cave, located in Vietnam's Quang Binh province's UNESCO-listed Phong Nha — Ke Bang National Park.


The Lay's "Find Your Flavor" campaign was launched in collaboration with Douyin to appeal to gen Z consumers in China. The brand created a mini-documentary series as well as a Douyin challenge to get people involved and create UGC content. Ultimately, the effort reached over 200 million young migrant workers.


AQUA wanted to increase sales with gen Z in Indonesia during Ramadan. The brand saw an opportunity with TikTok to reach this audience on the platform through influencers. The ANA case study stated that the brand used "its proprietary technology INCAtech, the company identified the key moments that needed for the brand to be present during Ramadan, which included buka puasa or breaking the fast, iftar or the first meal during breaking the fast, sahur or the last meal before fasting, and mudik or end of Ramadan holidays."

Vodafone Turkey

Vodafone created a TikTok-first campaign to engage with gen Z. To stir up interest, the company created an AR filter that was accessed through QR codes. Moreover, Vodafone "leveraged the technology to reach millions of users to participate in its #SacmaGuzeySey challenge, and asked users to share their most absurd and fun moments in their lives. In return, the company offered 10,000 views for the top scoring videos. The rewarding process was accomplished by a TikTok team looking for the most engaging videos. With TikTok Top View, Vodafone leveraged the algorithm to appear on top," as explained in the ANA case study.

Invesco QQQ

Investment management firm, Invesco QQQ, wanted to help students become more financially literate. In pursuit of this goal, it created "a student-centric, edutainment, mobile-first web experience to help college students take ownership of their financial futures and learn how to navigate the complex financial systems."
To do this, it partnered with Quizlet, HerCampus, Chegg, and Spotify to provide personalized and fun experiences.


To drive hype for its show Yellowjackets and connect with its gen Z audience, the company created content tailored to gen Z through '90s nostalgia. Further, character intro videos were created and social content was teased weekly through clips, stills, and tweets.

Reese's Puffs

Reese's Puffs sought to engage and win favor with generation Z culture. The brand collaborated with famed artist KAWS to create limited-edition cereal boxes (called KAWSPuffs) and an AR game, resulting in a 17 percent year-over-year sales increase.

Check out more Smarties Awards here.

Joanna Fragopoulos is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.