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Panda Express — Good Fortune Scratcher

Finalist in Contest or Promotion


Business Objective

Marketing Objective

Communication Objective

Panda Express is the fastest growing Chinese food chain in the country. The company's restaurants principally offer Americanized Asian cuisine in a fast-casual setting and are mainly located in high-traffic areas. 

The greatest challenge Panda Express faced was making a holiday that’s so much an influence to the brand's background culture and offerings feel resonant to a mass audience that’s unaware of what the holiday entails and why it's important. Most of all, how they can make the holiday something that everyone can partake in.

Panda Express had to differentiate from other fast-casual food chains by creating a unique/engaging experience surrounding Lunar New Year—a significant cultural event that symbolizes unity and celebration in China and other Asian cultures. 

Another challenge was to effectively integrate gamification into Panda Express' Chinese heritage. The idea was to construct a campaign that would drive significant sales growth through redemptions, especially given the pivotal context of the Lunar New Year.


Panda Express fans and fast-casual diners were the target audience for the Lunar New Year campaign. Roughly between the ages of 20 and 50, they bridge both tradition and modernity. They see good food as a way of bringing loved ones together.

While most have likely heard of Lunar New Year, they don’t have a personal connection to the holiday or think of it as a time to celebrate.

To make Lunar New Year more inviting and resonant to a community uninitiated to the holiday, we looked to GOOD FORTUNE as a key unifier of cultures.

The giving and receiving of good fortune is a big theme of this holiday. And everyone loves an opportunity to experience good luck—whether they celebrate Lunar New Year or not.

We looked for a way we could connect millions of people to the holiday and the concept of good fortune and determined that scratchers were a universal fit. Playing this fun, simple game was a universal experience that provides instant gratification. Since younger audiences were merging traditions with digital experiences, we created a virtual version along with a paper one.

Enter: The very first Lunar New Year red envelope that was also a lotto scratcher, a unique blend of tradition and engagement.

Our “Good Fortune Scratcher” idea was to take an expression of good fortune known by most and associate it to a holiday known by few.

By gamifying—and digitizing—a relatable connection to the holiday, we could create brand new and repeat fans, and drive more sales than ever during this period.

Panda Express’ red envelope for Lunar New Year sought to extend that experience to diners, who could play, learn about the dishes they were uncovering with each scratch, and win good fortune, prizes, and discounts on dishes with every play.


The Good Fortune Scratcher exceeded all benchmarks, leading to the brand's most successful redemption campaign and activation in Panda Express’ history.

In just six weeks, the activation saw: 

Business Brand/Results:

The Lunar New Year campaign aimed to deepen cultural engagement and drive sales through a gamified experience. The "Good Fortune Scratcher" was a strategic move to relate the universal concept of luck and prosperity to the brand, contributing to an astounding $10.2M in sales from coupon redemptions and demonstrating a 10x improvement over the previous year's campaign.

Aligning with the strategic objectives, the campaign resonated well with the audience, resulting in a 30% increase in word-of-mouth advocacy, a 15% rise in purchase intent, and a 19% boost in reputation. These metrics showcased the campaign's efficacy in driving not only sales, but also strengthening the overall brand equity.

In addition to the direct financial impact, the campaign successfully incorporated Lunar New Year into the traditions of diverse families across the US, marking a cultural milestone for the brand.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Many, Panda Express


Entry Credits