The spot once again features animated panda-bear characters created by Siltanen & Partners, the chain's agency of record since 2008. Those characters have starred in a series of spots in recent years that feature their adventures as they try to get their paws on various Panda Express dishes. (The premise: Being bears, they're not allowed to just go into a Panda Express and order the items.)
This time, the panda characters -- "Eddie" and "Tom-Tom" -- ponder becoming beekeepers in order to make their own version of Honey Sesame Chicken Breast, with unfortunate results. The ad then segues to close-ups of the new menu item.
The "King Bee" ad is now airing in spot television markets across the country.
System-wide sales for Panda Express, which has 1,600-plus locations in 46 states and continues to expand, have risen by 55% since 2008.
Marketing and advertising efforts spanning TV, outdoor, digital, radio, social media and in-store signage, combined with new menu items and packaging innovations, have helped drive the chain's growth, according to Siltanen & Partners.
For example, Panda Express's Facebook focus in recent times has grown its "likes" to more than 3.2 million.
Interestingly, the chain's Twitter account shows nearly 8,500 followers, although Panda Express has yet to post a single tweet (and the site also shows no tweets from followers or others).
A message on the Twitter account reads: "We wish we could tweet but we're busy wokking up Panda favorites. Orange Chicken, anyone?"