The Coronavirus outbreak has forced brands to entirely change their marketing plans. But just how do you run a marketing campaign during a global pandemic when your customers (and staff) are locked down at home? Here are several examples of companies who are stepping up, giving back, and transforming in order to deliver value to millions of struggling people around the world.
Spanish sports retailer donates scuba masks to hospitals
Sports retailer Decathlon has blocked the sale in store and online of its full face scuba masks and donated its total stock to Spanish hospitals.The masks have been removed from sale, as engineers in Italy have managed to convert the items into respirators using state of the art 3D printing technology, meaning they provide life saving treatment for the most serious cases of COVID-19. The idea of converting the masks was the brainchild of Belgium doctor Frederic Bonnier, a respiratory physiotherapist at the Erasme Hospital in Brussels. He discovered that by producing a custom valve at the top of the mask where the snorkel normally sits, the mask can be attached to a standard BiPAP machine so it can feed pressurised air into the mask.
Thanks for all the messages about our Easybreath mask! The ingenuity of our global community is amazing. It is important to note that we designed our Easybreath mask for snorkeling, and it's not medically validated as a ventilator. Read more here: https://t.co/OwphA3rwKx https://t.co/c0zkn4JZf2
— Decathlon USA (@DecathlonUSA) March 25, 2020
Unilever Food Solutions helps Catering chefs around the world
Unilever’s global food brand created new learning modules for chefs around the world, who are facing exceptional challenges in the mass catering business. From food safety and delivery to nutrition and immunity support, the modules were created at speed to help localised cooking audiences around the world from Singapore to the USA.
Brewdog switches beer production to hand sanitiser
Brewdog decided to swich from one alcohol based product to another, with the brewing company deciding using its distillery to make hand sanitiser, and give it away completely for free to those in need. The move came following reports of widespread shortages, and incidents of the vital hygiene product being stolen from hospitals. This week, James Watt, the co-founder of Brewdog, revealed that more than 100,000 bottles had been donated to key worker and charities so far. However, none of the sanitiser given to NHS Grampian is currently being used, as it does not yet meet the stringent requirements needed for a medical environment, but it is hoped that it will eventually be cleared for use at NHS Grampian sites such as Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Container availability for our sanitiser is a challenge & we are packing any container we can get, including small beer bottles (to be used to refill other containers).
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) March 28, 2020
Fashion giants get stitching facemasks
Many stores and factories worldwide went dark as governments declared nationwide quarantines. However, the lights flickered back on for a few companies who are hard at work pivoting from their usual fashion apparel to producing much needed surgical masks. Luxury designers such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, and Prada are just a few examples of brands jumping in on the action. The companies have promised to produce millions of face masks primarily in high risk areas such as Italy and France. Even H&M and Zara have begun to take steps to switch their textile manufacturing over to making health materials. While many brands are currently waiting on both the materials and approval from the WHO and EU to begin production, prepare to see a surplus of surgical masks in the coming weeks.
Miller Lite encourages people to ‘tip your bartender’
Miller lite reached out a helping hand to struggling bartenders, who are now unemployed in response to the mass closure of bars worldwide. The American beer company tweeted a photo of an abandoned pub in support of their latest campaign “#VirtualTipJar”, which aims to raise money for bartenders who have been put out of work. The owner of Miller Lite, Molson Coors, has volunteered an additional $1 million as an estimated 241,000 US restaurants and bars have closed their doors as of this week.
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite) March 20, 2020
Taco Bell adapts user-generated drive-thru videos for new commercial
As fast food brands shut down or revery to take-out, Taco Bell’s showed off thier new Covid-safe drive-thru process including sticker-sealed bags. Without film crews, the brand instead showcase user generated videos filmed on customer’s phones. “When you need a little light, it helps to open a window,” a voiceover says as consumers’ videos appear, like windows, and soon fill up the screen. The campaign was assembled remotely by the chain’s creative agency, Deustch LA. It is set to run on TV, social, digital video and radio through June, and replaces a previously planned effort that was also expected to rely on user-generated content. The 15-second “Windows” spot ends with the voiceover saying “let our drive-thru help you get through.”
F1 teams join forces for ‘Project Pitlane’ to assist with ventilator production
A collective of seven UK-based Formula 1 teams, have responded to the UK Government’s call for assistance with the manufacture of medical devices to help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The teams involved are Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, BWT Racing Point F1 Team, Haas F1 Team, McLaren F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, Renault DP World F1 Team, ROKiT Williams Racing. Their combined efforts, termed ‘Project Pitlane’, are part of a UK industry-wide effort to manufacture and deliver respiratory devices to support the national need. The project will pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly. F1’s unique ability to rapidly respond to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response.
Guinesss makes up for missed St Patricks day
Guinness addressed the pandemic through their latest ad, released on March 20. The Irish beer company acknowledged that St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same this year due to the parade and bar closures. However, the company vowed to “march again” and thus pledged $500,000 through its Guinness Gives Back Fund to “help the communities where we live, work and celebrate”. Guinness Ireland also pledged €1.5 million to support Irish bar staff and elderly citizens.
You may have seen this Guinness Poster that wasn’t a Guinness Poster? Well, we love it. Thanks to @RedBalloonLuke and the @OneMinuteBriefs community for helping us share this important message. https://t.co/tKHMVBAlPZ pic.twitter.com/M4eOhyz1Gp
— Guinness Ireland (@GuinnessIreland) March 27, 2020
Online retailer donates 5,000 compression socks to help Scotland’s nurses fight fatigue
Glasgow online travel accessories retailer Trtl, whose sales have dropped 95% in the past two weeks has donated 5,000 pairs of compression socks to help Scots nurses combat Covid-19. Online retailer donates 5,000 compression socks to help Scotland’s nurses fight fatigue Worth £125,000, the colourful knee-length socks will help 5,000 acute nurses in six hospitals across Scotland fight fatigue in the coming weeks. And the firm has pledged to give away 5,000 more in the next seven days to nurses in London, bringing the total to 10,000 (£250,000). Trtl (pronounced ‘turtle’) has donated the compression socks to acute nurses at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Royal Alexandra Hospital (Paisley) and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan. Each hospital has received 1,000. In addition, nurses at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital will take 1,000 while Trtl has given 500 to nurses at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and 500 to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The company, which employs 30 people in Glasgow, had stockpiled thousands of the socks in advance of its peak summer season.
LVMH makes free hand sanitizer to help French hospitals fight Coronavirus
Fashion giant LVMH is set to donate 12 metric tons (that’s 26,455 pounds) of hand sanitizer across Paris’s 39 public hospitals “by the end of this week.” The company will be adding two new production lines from its Givenchy factory in l’Oise and its Guerlain factory near Chartres. An LVMH representative confirmed to Allure that the company has actually already produced 15 metric tons of sanitizer and expects to produce 50 metric tons next week. The corporation responsible for luxury fashion and cosmetics brands such as Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton is preparing its production sites to create “substantial quantities” of the gel — or hand sanitizer — under the instruction of chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault.
Di fronte all'emergenza sanitaria causata dalla pandemia di Covid-19, le Maison italiane del gruppo LVMH uniscono le loro forze e agiscono per sostenere il personale ospedaliero e combattere il virus in Italia. https://t.co/bvWHwc9U20#LVMHJoinsForces #Italy pic.twitter.com/koKF8U86oL
— LVMH (@LVMH) April 2, 2020
EBay offers free services for small businesses eyeing ecommerce
With small business retailers closing shop, eBay launched an accelerator programme for retailers that only have a brick-and-mortar shop—no ecommerce site—and pledged up to $100 million in support. Called “Up & Running,” the initiative is designed to help the small businesses that sell on eBay’s site. New businesses can run an eBay store for free for three months with no selling fees to eBay, which will also provide educational webinars and business support. In March, eBay said it was discouraging price gouging by prohibiting coronavirus-related items and blocking new listings for much-needed health care supplies such as masks and home essentials such as toilet paper.
Vodafone lightens the pressure with free unlimited data to customers
Vodafone is offering free unlimited mobile data to half a million of its pay monthly customers. The mobile network said it was doing so as part of its support measures during the coronavirus pandemic. Customers considered “vulnerable” will be automatically upgraded, it said, while others can apply. It comes a day after Vodafone faced criticism for announcing price increases during the crisis. Many mobile operators and other services raise their prices in April each year, by an amount linked to inflation. Other phone operators had already announced their price increases before people began to lose their jobs during the coronavirus shutdown.
Wedding site helps locked down wedding industry
The Knot Worldwide, which owns wedding sites The Knot and WeddingWire, is helping its advertisers—vendors like caterers, flower companies and apparel brands— with financial assistance. The wedding industry, which typically ramps up in the spring, has been a hard hit by the pandemic. More than half of Americans are postponing their weddings, according to Bloomberg report. The Knot’s Vendor Assistance Program includes $10 million to help the company’s local advertisers with their advertising payments. The site is also rolling out new editorial features to help couples continue to plan for their nuptials at this time, even while homebound, like a virtual concierge. In a blog post about the new offering, Knot CEO Tim Chi struck a hopeful note, “It is clear that this crisis and the social distancing that it has required, will only enhance our deep desire to be connected with our closest family and friends. Weddings will come back strong and love will be unphased in the time of Coronavirus.”
Our teams at @TheKnot + @WeddingWire have a hotline to help couples as they navigate #wedding planning + postponements due to #COVID19 and current CDC recommendations for gatherings. @PopSugar shares all the details: https://t.co/RScnpKG04G
— The Knot Worldwide (@TheKnotWW) March 19, 2020
Chipotle gives away 100,000 free burritos for medical staff
Chipotle gave away 100,000 free burritos to healthcare workers in honour of National Burrito Day on April 2. Those who wished to register their medical unit can apply using this form and can receive a free burrito box that will be delivered by DoorDash next week during World Health Worker Week. Burrito boxes come with either 25 or 50 burritos in them. The chain is also extending its free delivery on orders over $10 made on the Chipotle app or through Chipotle.com through April 30. Fans who order on National Burrito Day (again, tomorrow, April 2), will get a free serving of queso blanco when they add it to an entree. Chipotle is also using tamper-evident delivery, which includes a seal or sticker on your order that will ensure the food has not been opened on touched during delivery.
To all the healthcare heroes: thank you ❤️ Get free burritos delivered to your medical facility next week. Submit your team today and see terms here: https://t.co/Bu9bus872k
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) April 1, 2020
T-Mobile skips April Fools for charity drive instead
Most brands sjkipped April fools this year. T-Mobile went one step further is by donating $1 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for each tweet with the hashtag “GiveThanksNotPranks.” Phone maker OnePlus joined the cause, saying it would pledge $50,000 toward T-Mobile’s effort. Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners and Republic Wireless were also among some of the brands who retweeted T-Mobile’s message.
— T-Mobile (@TMobile) April 2, 2020
Matel offers at home play for housebound kids
Toy giant Mattel debuted it’s ‘Mattel Playroom’, a one-stop shop with activities, tips and content from Mattel brands such as American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends. Updated on a weekly basis, the site will offer DIY designer tutorials and advice on how to play with toys. “We recognize the unique challenges that parents and caregivers are facing right now both working and playing from home,” Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer of Mattel, said in a statement. Hasbro has created a similar initiative, #BringHomeTheFun, which gives parents ideas to “reduce the reliance on screens.” Like many retailers, Mattel also said it plans to produce face masks—in this case fashioned from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric—for health care workers in need as the national supply continues to dwindle.
At Mattel, we know how the power of play can spark joy, even in hard times. Show us how you #KeepPlaying so we can inspire others with your stories of wonder. And check out https://t.co/jD2WSv1iIK for additional at-home resources. pic.twitter.com/hp1RvhGCHd
— MATTEL (@Mattel) March 31, 2020
Mobile developers team up to aid global charities
A group of leading mobile game developers have joined together to support charities fighting the Coronavirus. Each will dedicate a proportion of their global advertising inventory to support a selection of charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation (UK) ®, SpecialEffect, and BuildAid. Together the group of developers have a global audience of over 100 million Daily Active Users. They comprise of DoDreams, MAG Interactive, Popcore, Miniclip, Ilyon Dynamics, Kwalee, Masomo, plus many others. “With many people stuck at home around the world, gaming publishers are seeing record usage. We are all pleased to be able to give free access to advertising inventory for a group of charities that face a critical challenge over the next few months.” said Pieter Kooyman, Chief Advertising Officer for Miniclip.
Spoon Guru launches Immunity Support TAG in wake of Covid-19
London-based global AI food technology start-up Spoon Guru, the has announced the launch of a new ‘Immunity Support TAG’ in the wake of Covid-19, to help consumers find foods online and in stores to strengthen their immune system.
Unilever donates €100m in supplies to Covid Action Platform
Unilever has said it will provide free soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to the value of €100m. Around half of this donation will be distributed via the World Economic Forum’s Covid Action Platform, which aims to mobilise business support to deal with the crisis. Unilever is also providing $500m in cash flow relief to support hard-hit suppliers and small-scale retail customers in its value chain.
To help tackle this pandemic, we’re donating €100m of soap, sanitiser, bleach & food to emergency efforts; supporting our vulnerable suppliers/customers with €500m of cash flow relief; & protecting our workforce from sudden drops in pay. @wef https://t.co/LQxI4sbf1X pic.twitter.com/orVLJ2PUrB
— Unilever #StayHome (@Unilever) March 24, 2020
Domo updates COVID-19 global tracker with embeddable country-level stats
Business tech platform Domo has updated its free, interactive Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Tracker with county-level infection statistics, stay-at-home orders and testing-by-state data.
Independent local retailers join forces to help feed hospital staff and keep businesses afloat
Groups of independent retailers and resuarants are piulling together in this time of crisis. One example is below from Lewisham in London. Sportsbanger have raised money through the sales of their NHS hoodies and tees, so that we can feed frontline NHS staff on shift. Food businesses. We will collect meals from a different business we’re working with each day and deliver them to our local ICU unit in Lewisham. This way the NHS staff get feed and continue to support small businesses navigate their way through this and have a business at the end of it all.
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Something AMAZING has happened and we’re part of it and here’s how it working…🔥 ✔️ @sportsbanger have raised money through the sales of their NHS hoodies and tees (currently sold out from the success of this) so that we can FEED front – line NHS staff on shift. ✔️ Our friends @clubmexicana have pulled us and loads of other small independent food businesses. We will collect meals from a different business we’re working with each day and deliver them to our local ICU unit in Lewisham. 💙 ✔️ This way the NHS staff get feed AND we can continue to support small businesses navigate their way through this and have a business at the end of it all. 🙌 ✔️ Together as a team we are doing 4 daily drops to hospitals around London. Lewisham being our local. 🚍 ✔️ Everything is contactless and this is pretty essential so very proud to be involved. 💪 Our first drop goes live tomorrow with Arepas from @pepialdn 👅 Thank you @mexicanamez Jonny and @susiecrome 🔥 Sending love to you all, from Ink and @billorbeak (our brother brand) 💙