Panda Express, Pepsi and Bailey Lauerman Celebrate the Chinese New Year Together

By Patrick Coffee 

America is a pretty diverse country, divisions be damned. Yet most of us aren’t familiar with the Chinese New Year, an event celebrated by an increasing number of Americans.

Now Panda Express, Pepsi and ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” have teamed up for a campaign designed to spread a bit more information regarding the Year of the Rooster celebration and encourage the public to take part. Independent Omaha-based agency Bailey Lauerman is Panda Express’s AOR.

This is quite an extensive campaign involving partnerships with Panda Express’s longtime beverage partner Pepsi and the ABC shows “Ellen” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” The centerpiece of the effort is an extended spot about a family, their adopted child, and a shared love of Panda Express.


That was very sweet, and it’s really only part of the larger integrated effort. (Pepsi’s new Creators League Studio produced the video in collaboration with Madison + Vine.)

First, there’s a Celebrate Chinese New Year website, which includes a series of factoids about the holiday as well as some related restaurant promotions and a card game tie-in to the aforementioned ABC sitcom based on the memoirs of New York chef Eddie Huang that expands on the classic Year Of placemat setup.

“Fresh Off the Boat” will air a New Year-themed episode next week, and its stars will also appear on “Ellen” and play her popular app/game Heads Up in a further integration facilitated by media partner Pal8.

A blog called Angry Asian Man describes the partnership as such: “This is really weird, yet actually kind of makes sense. … Could this be the first Chinese New Year-themed episode of a network television show?”

“The spirit of Chinese New Year is at the heart of what Panda Express commits to doing every day in our restaurants and communities, which is to bring family and friends together through food and shared experiences,” said Peggy Cherng, co-chair and co-chief executive officer of Panda Restaurant Group.

Perhaps most importantly, all who visit the chain on January 28 will get a red envelope in keeping with Chinese New Year tradition that involves giving small gifts to friends and loved ones. (It’s for a free Pepsi and chicken entree.)