Frosties’ Tony the Tiger, Japan’s Domo-kun, M&M’s Red and Yellow, the Pringles moustache man (who knew his actual name was Julius Pringles?) … Why do so many brands use mascots? Simply put – because they work and increase emotional connections with consumers which, in turn, translates into increased profits (source: Campaign Asia). The ones listed above are some of the most effective brand mascots recognised by people all over the world – even those people who may not even have purchased the brand’s products yet.
Hence, enter foodpanda’s Pau-Pau – who you have probably seen if you regularly order food or grocery through the app – a large-eyed, pint-sized, pink panda eager to befriend you.
Pau-Pau, an animated mascot, was introduced by foodpanda’s global team in December 2021 in Cambodia, Japan and Taiwan as part of the food and grocery delivery service’s 10th global (and fifth local anniversary); it came to Pakistan (and other Asian countries) earlier this year as a “fresh” way to engage consumers.
Previously, foodpanda focused on the brand’s functional side (pushing top-of-mind recall, being delivery partners – focusing on speed and variety etc.), and after reaching a certain level of brand awareness in markets across Asia, they decided to further explore the brand’s personality, resulting in the creation of Pau-Pau.
“We asked ourselves – Who are we as a company? Why do we exist? What do we stand for? And so we decided to answer these questions through Pau-Pau,” says Rifah Qadri, Head of Brand & Marketing, foodpanda.
She adds: “As a brand, foodpanda is fun and vibrant and Pau-Pau is a reflection of our personality. Pau-Pau champions empowerment and sustainability across the region and has been positioned as a friendly, vibrant personality. It also represents the psyche of people who are experiencing a dark period in history (Covid, inflation, global conflicts etc.) – and has a chip on its left ear to symbolise that it is not perfect like us.” Pau-Pau aims to encourage meaningful interactions with customers by being someone they can rely on.
In Pakistan, Pau-Pau was publicised via digital media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Snack Video), apps like IMO, inMobi and SHAREit and the foodpanda app, OOH in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, and primetime spots on major TV channels.
One of the teasers involved a ‘newscast’ on TV which started to scramble; a few seconds later it cleared up to reveal a small part of Pau-Pau’s face, with text saying “Coming Soon”. Similar teasers were published on social media and foodpanda’s app, and the audiences saw parts of Pau-Pau and began to guess what foodpanda was up to, thus engaging with the brand.
For TV, and to make Pau-Pau more relatable to local audiences, local activation and marketing agencies worked under the global brief to integrate the official launch with “one of the biggest passion points of Pakistanis”: music. To this end, foodpanda developed a TVC with Hasan Raheem which shows an eager Pau-Pau helping deliver a pizza to Raheem and his friends.
Post-launch, major publications and top influencers were utilised to amplify the TVC and create content using Pau-Pau, respectively. Pau-Pau also has a globally developed mini-series called The Adventures of Pau-Pau, which explores its back story, and explains how it got its pink colour and chipped ear among other things.
According to foodpanda’s internal reports and analysis, Pau-Pau’s launch has fared well so far as it is “loved and well-received” by their core target audience (people aged 18-35) and public sentiment is “at an all-time high.”
When asked if Pau-Pau will eventually come to life (read: activations), foodpanda says “Yes, very soon. In the coming months, multiple activities have been planned around Pau-Pau, so stay tuned.”