Crisis Brand Initiative


Lilian Broyles: The Asian American & Pacific Islander community has suffered xenophobic hostility fueled by fear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an Asian American and Chinese adoptee, I feel compelled to tell this story because it is like a personal attack against my identity.

I propose Panda Express use brand power to bring awareness and rally support for the community through social media and limited edition to-go packaging. The campaign will support the work of organizations dedicated to the issue, A3PCON and UPRISERS.

Duration: 4 weeks
Filed Under: , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Brands have the ability, and perhaps obligation, to be a positive influence in the world. Never is this more true than in times of crisis. Advertising professionals can put their creativity, agility, and communication expertise to positive use.

A recent survey of 1,000 people in 12 countries on brand trust and the COVID-19 pandemic from the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer found there’s an almost unanimous worldwide belief that brands have a critical role during this trying time. The report concludes that brands should to use their influence to educate and empathize. The U.S. market is high in politicization and low in media trust, which means that brands are expected to fill in those informational gaps and take on a new role as reliable sources. Consumers expect brands to serve as educators and offer vital information about the virus and how to protect themselves from it in order to earn or keep their trust.

The report included recommendations for maintaining brand trust during the coronavirus:

  • Show up and do your part
  • Don't act alone
  • Solve, don't sell
  • Communicate with emotion, compassion and facts
  • Protect employees
  • Produce products that can help
  • Partner with government and relief agencies to fill the gaps
  • Serve as an information source
  • Use brand power to educate
  • Bring people together (figuratively, of course!)

See the report for elaboration on each of the above.

Students will conceptualize a positive initiative, for the brand of their choice, in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Projects are expected to rely on insight from the Edelman report. A positive brand initiative will focus on contributing, not profiting. 

PERSONAL NOTE: My intention with this project is to engage with current events in a matter in-line with the profession. However, if this assignment would cause you emotional distress, please communicate with me. I care about your wellbeing.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn to think critically and analyze existing branded communication.
  • Engage with current events in line with the profession.
  • Learn how to approach advertising and branding as an ethical practitioner.


  • Write a discussion post that analyzes how one brand has responded to the pandemic. The post should discuss how the initiative does and/or doesn't meet recommendations from the Edelman Report. Please also comment on the initiative's creativity.
  • 1–3 page, 17 x 11" horizontal PDF. Document should be considered a pitch presentation. Slides should include both written explanation of the idea and visual representation.



Related projects