Using pandas to put Chengdu on the international map

We used pandas to put Chengdu on the international map, driving a 30.3% increase in tourist numbers (compared to national growth of just 1.2%).

Chengdu, capital city of China's Sichuan Province, needed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism to secure its long-term economic development.

Working with the Information Office of Chengdu Municipal Government, we created an international campaign to position Chengdu as the 'City of Panda'. We used the native panda as the city's ambassador to connect with the hearts and minds of audiences around the world. The brand launch was a great success, with 58% more visitors the month after the launch alone.

The challenge was then to sustain the long-term position of Chengdu as a key Asian tourist destination. We generated continuous excitement and engagement around the Chengdu 'Pambassador' concept, generating 1.6 billion media impressions.

The programme elevated Chengdu’s reputation as a friendly city that is attractive for tourists, economically vibrant, and committed to environmental protection. 1.2 million people visited Chengdu in 2012 – an annual growth rate of 30.3% compared to the national average of 1.2%.