The Egyptian market has improved in the field of advertising. Now marketers invest more in the concept and new ideas. However, many agencies try so hard to create a Viral Campaign and forget that to make a great campaign. It needs three main things: Simplicity, Change, and Market Research. They need to have a strong understanding of their customers.

Market research is the best tool to gain insight into the audience and know how to deal with them. Many marketers forget to whom they are addressing their message.

Never Say No to Panda Campaign

To become the first Arabic TV Commercial to go viral globally, not only in Egypt, Panda Cheese focused on their target’s behavior that they got from their research, and instead of using the same old way of adverting cheese, showing that the cheese is delicious and is good quality, they decided to be different and innovated while keeping it simple.

The “Never Say No to Panda” ad campaign consists of 5 commercials, that were created by Advantage Marketing and Elephant Cairo Agency for the Arab Dairy Company and aired on Egyptian TV channels in May 2010. It was filmed by the famous international commercial director Ali Ali, and also written by Ali Ali and Maged Nassar.

For their campaign, they focused on the fact that the Egyptians are most attracted by sarcasm and humor. They had a clear objective, make people know the brand, and make them stop buying the competition’s brands.

This advertisement is for the Panda brand of cheese and utilizes a man dressed up as a Panda to reinforce the brand name.

In each commercial, a person is offered Panda cheese and declines. This causes a giant panda to suddenly appear in front of them while the Buddy Holly song “True Love Ways” plays in the background. The Panda stares at the person for a few seconds before going into a silent but violent outburst, destroying objects around them. The implicit message is that you shouldn’t refuse a Panda Cheese in the first place.

Key Elements Behind the Success of Never Say No to Panda

This campaign idea was funny and intelligent because it encouraged consumers to purchase their products. Two key elements made people engage more with it and made it successful.

First: The use of music during the commercial.

When the person refuses the cheese, the Panda appears, and a calm, soothing song is playing in the background of the commercial. Showing the nice side of the animal, it’s a sign to show that the cheese is tasty. The music stops when the Panda attacks, and resumes when he finishes, to reinforce that Panda cheese is a good product.

Second: Slogan “Never say no to Panda.”

The slogan plays a significant role in making the campaign successful.
It can be understood in two ways. The taste is so irresistible that you can’t say no to it.
The second way is if you say no to the cheese, the Panda will come to destroy the place as revenge. The slogan is the reason that makes the audience laugh about the situation, and makes them understand the underlying message that this cheese is the one to choose.

The campaign resulted in all kinds of reactions. Adults and families found the campaign hilarious and enjoyed it. But that wasn’t the case for kids; for them, the Panda was a cute and inoffensive animal, now they see it as terrifying and violent.
The idea was courageous but considered bold and violent too, which caused controversies.

Campaign’s Success and Results

The company won millions of new customers but lost a significant segment, which is kids.

The objective of this advertisement campaign was achieved, which was establishing a strong brand name. Whenever consumers see the Panda, they will remember the commercial.

They also created an unprecedented buzz for any Egyptian & probably any Middle Eastern brand across the globe.

The video was featured in the Huffington Post Comedy, Funny or Die and Good Morning America. The clips of the angry Panda became memes on 9GAG and Reddit.

The US, Sun & Guardian newspapers described “Never Say No to Panda” as a global phenomenon. The brand did not just take over market leadership, but it was starting to be known globally with hundreds of purchase requests from different countries.

The commercials won two Grands Prix at the 2010 Dubai Lynx, The ad campaign was also nominated for the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, and won the 2010 Silver Lion.

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