Campaign of the Year

Panda Restaurant Group’s social media campaign crushes sales goals

The campaign around the return of a beloved dish, which sold out early at almost 40% of the chain’s stores, earned a Grand Prize win for “Social Media Campaign of the Year” at PR Daily’s 2020 Digital Marketing & Social Media Awards.

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Panda Express superfans have no problem saving the breast for last.

The restaurant’s fabled honey sesame chicken breast, one of the brand’s highest performing limited-time offers and most-requested dishes, was the centerpiece of the “Brought to You by You” campaign.    

The honey sesame chicken breast dish returned to stores from Sept. 25, 2019-Dec. 17, 2019. To create buzz for the highly anticipated return, Panda Express teased the comeback with drool-worthy gifs, honey sesame fortunes and personalized thank-yous to fans who requested the dish’s return.

To fuel fan appetites, Panda Restaurant Group teamed with advertising agency Evolution Bureau and PR agency Havas Formula to launch “Put Your Honey Where Your Mouth Is” challenges on Instagram and Facebook Stories, asking fans to prove their delicious devotion with a new challenge each week. At the end of the campaign—which garnered participation from 1,697 followers—Panda dished out 618 free bowls of honey sesame chicken breast.

“Put Your Honey Where Your Mouth Is” challenges included:

  • Creating a Honey Sesame Chicken Breast family holiday card
  • Adding Honey Sesame Chicken Breast titles to their LinkedIn profile
  • Submitting a “happy dance” video
  • Performing a love song about Honey Sesame Chicken Breast
  • Changing their Facebook name to “Honeysesame Chickenbreast”

Panda even got San Francisco 49ers tight end and self-proclaimed honey sesame chicken superfan, George Kittle, in on the action. Panda partnered with Kittle to promote the challenges on his social media channels and boost excitement about the dish.

This was the brand’s most participatory social media campaign to date, driving an unprecedented rise in conversation and fan involvement. The campaign also helped Panda crush its sales goals for the dish—which ended up selling out early at almost 40% of its stores.

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