Panda Express Stresses Authenticity With Lunar New Year Spot

Panda Express is leaning into its heritage as a American Chinese brand with its first work under agency partner The Many.

Anchoring the new campaign is a three-minute film that opens with an Asian family inviting a neighborhood boy to join their Lunar New Year celebration, which includes enjoying mandarins for prosperity, authentic Chinese dishes and decorations, as well as gifting “lucky” red envelopes. 

It is then revealed that the celebration is a flashback from a past event, since and this year’s gathering has been canceled due to COVID-19. However, the neighbor seeks to keep the tradition of sharing good fortune by giving his neighbors a box of Panda Express spring rolls. The spot ends with the boy honoring the Chinese holiday with his own family.

The agency worked to ensure the behind-the-scenes activity was just as culturally authentic as the creative in front of the camera. The film is directed by Strike Anywhere’s Erica Eng working with an Asian crew.

“It was important to have Chinese Americans in the roles that mattered to maintain cultural authenticity. From our production designer bringing items from her own home to decorate our sets, to our food stylist pulling inspiration from her own family's Lunar New Year meals, we wanted to make sure our culture was portrayed as correctly as possible on-screen,” explains Eng.

The “Traditions Shared” commercial airs across Hulu and Panda’s social channels through February 28.

In addition, Panda is launching a digital red envelope experience to invite guests to customize and send these cards to friends and family. Recipients receive $2 off an entrée and a free drink, while the sender gets a free order of spring rolls.

Also, Panda Express is teaming up with Joy Cho, founder and creative Director of Oh Joy! to create limited-edition celebration kits. These $50 packages include aprons, a mini stuffed panda, recipes and activities.
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