Panda Express Reimagines Iconic Tune in New Plant-based Orange Chicken Campaign 


By thelaegotist / /

A Twist on The Zombies’ catchy “Time of the Season” takes viewers through the mouth-watering creation of a brand extension  

In a new campaign created by the world’s largest American Chinese dining concept Panda Express and independent creative and strategic advertising agency The Many, music is once again used to tell a one-of-a-kind product story, while also promoting the company’s larger goal of being a cultural bridge.

“Time of the Season” by classic rock band The Zombies is reimagined into an English and Chinese original to celebrate a limited-time offering of a plant-based take on the brand’s iconic The Original Orange Chicken®, Beyond™ The Original Orange Chicken™. The song starts in English with a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk-like growing vine weaving its way through the kitchen and then smoothly transitions to Mandarin as the chef prepares a mouth-watering meal over a flaming stove. 

The :30 spot entices the senses, with the signature orange sauce sizzling deliciously as it hits the smoking wok. The shimmering nuggets of “chicken” float into the sauce and fly into the air as the chef masterfully wok-tosses the ingredients together. The camera pans out, revealing the kitchen thick in vegetation and the iconic red takeout pails of Panda Express bursting with irresistible bites of flavor and texture as the song crescendos. “Orange Chicken has turned over a new leaf,” reads the copy, as a female voiceover intones, “Beyond The Original Orange Chicken … for a limited time. Only at Panda Express.” 

“Beyond The Original Orange Chicken redefines what ‘original’ means in a way that only Panda can. It is the next original expression of a Panda Express icon,” said Fabiola del Rio, vice president of Integrated Marketing Communications at Panda Express. “The breakthrough creative, heroing the origin alongside the innovation, has captured our guests’ full attention, shattering our industry benchmark for ad completion.”

The new campaign banks on the brand’s secret ingredient for cultural bridge-building: music. It is the fifth time Panda Express has tapped into the power of music and lyrics, following previous English and Mandarin mashup covers of iconic songs such as Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart,” Outkast’s “The Way You Move” and, most recently, “This Magic Moment” from The Drifters.  

In addition to the :30, The Many created a :15 TVC spot for connected TV/over-the-top TV, digital video, display and social nationally with out-of-home in Chicago and Los Angeles and linear TV in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The campaign runs through Nov. 29.

  • Client – Panda Express
    • Fabiola Del Rio – VP, Integrated Marketing Communications
    • Danny Aguilar – Brand Marketing Manager, Marketing Communications
    • Elaine Bartlett – Director, Creative Design and Production
    • Kevin Tinglof – Senior Creative Design Manager
    • Alex Tsao – Creative Design Manager
    • Michelle Kang – Creative Production Coordinator
    • Sisi Zhang – Digital Marketing Manager
    • Jessica Chao – Director, PR and Corporate Communications
    • Emily Jitsumasa – Associate Manager, PR and Corporate Communications
  • Agency – The Many 
    • Group Creative Director: Josh Paialii
    • Associate Creative Director: Jacque Vavroch
    • Associate Creative Director: Amy Matheu
    • Senior Copywriter: Jameson Miller
    • Senior Art Director: Michelle John
    • Associate Design Director: Amy Woo
    • Designer: Robert Diep
  • Senior Producer: Brooke Horne
  • Producer: Matt Simpson
  • Group Brand Director: Kylie Wu
  • Brand Director: Maggie Lannon
  • Brand Director: Allie Plantery
  • Director of Project Management: Svetlana Kornliova
  • Business Affairs: Lucy Campos
  • Group Strategy Director: Ashleigh Edwards
  • Associate Strategy Director: Danny Schotthoefer
  • Senior Social Strategy: Regina Maziarz
  • Community Manager: Genevieve Whitaker
  • Production Company – 
    • Production Company and City:  Feel Films, London
    • Director:  Tom Wilson
    • Executive Producer Nick Hirschkorn 
    • Director of Photography: Adam Frisch
    • Post Production & City: UPP (Universal Production Partners) Prague, CZ
    • Editor: Andu Radu
    • Music Company: Paradiso Music
    • Music Producer: Jeremy Silver
    • Composer: Jeremy Silver (for the re-record of “The Time of the Season”)
    • Sound Design Company and City: Lime Studios, Santa Monica
    • Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi 
    • Visual Effects and City: UPP (Universal Production Partners) Prague, CZ
    • Visual Effects Producer: Albert Otevrel


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