Brand Responses To COVID-19

Strategic approaches to connect with consumers.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been monitoring the impact of COVID-19 across the advertising ecosystem. With consumers increasingly advised to stay inside, out of home, usually a trusted channel for brand awareness, became nonviable. The cancellation of major sports, work from home mandates and closed schools left marketers scrambling to identify alternative ways to connect with core consumers.

Brands have proven there isn’t one right way to respond to this unprecedented situation, and we’re rounding up some of our favorite strategies below.  

Helping Communities Stay Healthy and Safe

Brands far and wide are doing their part to inform consumers on COVID-19, flatten the curve and support the front lines. Success with this tactic relies on one factor: authenticity. Brands should align their brand tenets with their products and capabilities to determine an execution that makes sense and can make a difference.

Pfizer's Chief Medical Officer Lays Out COVID-19 Facts in Social Media Series - Fierce Pharma

In mid-March Pfizer started a Twitter campaign called #KnowTheFacts featuring short videos of their chief medical officer discussing COVID-19 facts and safety tips. By providing consumers with access to a trained medical professional’s expert advice, Pfizer developed a valuable, impactful consumer resource while positioning themselves as a trusted partner.

Zara Owner Inditex Will Donate Masks for Coronavirus Patients and Health Workers in Spain - Vogue

Zara announced that its assembly lines and logistics teams would produce medical supplies for the Spanish government. Other fashion brands followed suit, with Gap producing masks and LVMH creating hand sanitizer. In a time where every effort is crucial, it’s clear brands can make a tangible difference.

Four Seasons Provides Free Rooms to NYC Coronavirus Doctors - Bloomberg

The Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan opened its doors to our healthcare heroes, providing free lodging and a place to rest for personnel facing long commutes after even longer shifts. This effort helps workers on the front lines while aligning closely with The Four Seasons’ identity as a company dedicated to comfort and compassion.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Not all brands have access to medical care professionals or large assembly lines - but that doesn’t mean they can’t help. Aligning corporate social responsibility efforts with brand tenets is a successful tactic for instilling long term brand equity while addressing imminent consumer needs.

Crocs Donating Its Shoes to Healthcare Workers - CNN Business

Healthcare workers everywhere rely on Crocs for comfortable footwear on the job. As a token of appreciation, Crocs created a program to donate 10,000 pairs a day to hospitals. This quick, on-brand messaging enables Crocs to make an actionable difference for one of their main audiences.

Anheuser-Busch Funnels Sports and Entertainment Budget Into Coronavirus Relief Efforts - Fortune

Anheuser-Busch announced that it would donate its sports and entertainment budget to nonprofit partners. The first step? Transform key stadiums into donation centers for the American Red Cross. The company paired the announcement with an ad spot aligned with one of their central values: supporting and listening to customers.

School Meal Sites Providing Free Meals for Children Throughout California - Dairy Council of California

The Dairy Council of California partnered with the California Milk Processor Board to create a centralized database of school nutrition program meal sites across California. By amplifying the resource through pro-bono support from ad tech companies like Nativo, this partnership created an invaluable resource for families struggling with food insecurity across the state.

Entertainment and Connection

For some brands with identities rooted in levity and entertainment, continuing to respectfully create lighthearted content can be a strong approach in uncertain times. By providing consumers with distractions, these brands are cementing themselves as a resource for relief while staying true to their brand tone and voice.

Bud Light Dive Bar Tour Home Edition: Bringing music to social distancing - FanSided

Keeping social distancing fun, Bud Light took their Dive Bar Tour online for Bud Light Dive Bar Tour: Home Edition. By bringing their activation directly into consumer homes, Bud Light made it easy for consumers to stay put  - and drink a beer. With this execution, Bud Light stayed true to their brand identity while servicing the needs of their customers.

10 Taco Bell Conference Call Backdrops That’ll Spice Up Your Meeting - Taco Bell

Taco Bell is getting in on the video conference game with inventive backdrops to “spice up your meeting.” Eye catching and exciting, the backdrops promote brand awareness while providing consumers with a bright spot during what can be monotonous days at home.


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