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How are the world’s most famous brands reacting to COVID-19?
By SmartBranding Team access_time 9 min read

While the whole world is facing a pandemic of the Covid-19 virus and the media is flooded with news about measures against the spreading of the infection most people are staying in quarantine reading and listening about it. In a time of uncertainty and fear, people need any indication of hope, solidarity, and good news. Although Coronavirus is rapidly spreading, it looks like faith in humanity is, too, when we see actions that individuals, groups as well as big brands are taking. So let’s see what messages are the most famous brands sending to the masses about Corona’s impact as well as how are they taking part in helping the situation.

Besides health problems, Coronavirus had many other effects which are now burning points for society. The labor market, global economy, food industry, and many more are disrupted by this new situation but luckily there are marketers who help solve these problems as much as they can.

In light of the mentioned problems, Walmart, Target, Kroger Co., Hormel Foods, Mondelēzand many more are hiring workers, giving bonuses and cash rewarding those who work in food-producing industries.

A lack of alcohol and other disinfection supplies has become a big problem and influential marketers in France are helping with this matter. Pernod Richard, french alcohol producer is donating 70,000 liters of alcohol for producing hand sanitizer in order to help with this health crisis.

Also, a French perfume manufacturer, LVMH, is donating hydroalcoholic gels to pharmacies and French hospitals since there’s a shortage of hand disinfectant gel all over France. The company also ordered 40 million health masks from a Chinese supplier to help France cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

In Spain, one of the fashion retailer’s largest brand, Zara, has offered to saw masks, scrubs, and gowns for hospital staff. They already donated 10,000 masks and more are on the way. This kind of help is a great way to support those who are on first lines, working hard, to protect us all — medical workers in all countries who save our lives. Other world-famous fashion brands like the Kering group, Pyer Moss, Gucci, and Prada are doing the same, offering and producing masks for medical staff whilst contributing to the situation with money donations too.

Alex Zhu, president of the TikTok platform has announced on March 23th that TikTok is giving a $10 million donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) who carries help where it’s needed. This generous contribution to society is what many other brands also did.

Kraft Heinz Co. will donate $12 million in cash and food including donations to U.S. hunger organization Feeding America and U.S. food banks. Pyer Moss set aside $5000 for medical supplies and Donatella Versace donated €200 000 to the hospital intensive care.

Influential brand Nike used its reputation to spread the message that people shows stay home which was posted by many Nike athletes. They are inspiring people to contribute with great sport phrase : “Play inside, play for the world”.

In order to help fight and prevent the spread of COVID-19, D&G is funding a research project conducted by Humanitas University as well as Bulgari, who contributed to the research department at the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome to purchase a microscopic image acquisition system. Armani has generously donated $1.43 million dollars to Italian hospitals, while Prada gave six intensive care and resuscitation units to a children’s hospital. Kering group, which owns many famous brands, has donated 2 million euros as well as already mentioned 3 million surgical masks.

In this stressful time for small businesses, Pyer Moss and fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond made sure that small entrepreneurs survive the global COVID-19 spread. They pledged $ 50,000 for small creative businesses to help go through the hard financial situation caused by the Coronavirus and quarantine since all income to these families comes from their businesses. Miller Lite helped out-of-work bartenders by starting a campaign, “#VirtualTipJar”, where you can tip online, reminding us that many individuals lost their jobs or are temporarily out of work.

Although some people work from home as a regular way of living, some are not really feeling comfortable being locked down, not seeing friends, family or simply going out, and that’s ok. We are not all the same, and the fact that people experience this in different ways should not be overlooked. That’s why big brands are consequently making campaigns to help us go through this quarantine isolation.

When it comes to house activities, Ikea, a famous “home” brand has released an ad in Spain for the Spain market but both in English and Spanish. Even though the commercial is made with sales intention which is subtly avoided here, it does remind about small projects that can be done around the house as a distraction and giving a sense of control and organization.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, in order to remind people that customers are family to them, it’s giving its Netflix username and password to their fans to watch for free. Great way to spend some time if you don’t have anything else to do, right?

Numerous world’s top musicians like Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay, John Legend, Keith Urban, and Neil Young organized online virtual concerts for their fans to bring some joy to these dark times.

Varsity Tutors is launching free online streaming classes connecting tutors and students, as well as one-on-one classes to help with learning and studying. So, if you want to study in a fun, interactive way, here’s a free opportunity.

With schools closed and many adults working remotely, Amazon’s Audible is trying to help parents with their kids now at home by offering free audiobooks for kids with a variety of children’s stories for ages up to 10 in six different languages.

Snapchat made an amazing feature, “HERE FOR YOU,” to help those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts or any similar problems, offering a mental health program for all users of this app.

Facebook’s new coronavirus information center displays real-time updates from national health authorities and global organizations such as the World Health Organization. As coronavirus forces communities online, Facebook’s moderating machine, they emphasize, is aggressively tackling misinformation about the virus — all that while supporting Coronavirus support groups, whose combined membership now totals more than a million people.

There’s a very notable lift in traffic on PornHub; following the announcements of a free premium membership in Italy, France, and Spain, traffic jumped 57 %, 38%, and 61%, respectively. Worldwide traffic to Pornhub was up 11.6% on March 17th. So there’s a free thing to do while being in quarantine.

If you like hanging on Tinder but you never had money to purchase Tinder Gold or Tinder Plus now it’s a great time to take advantage of their offer to swipe abroad wherever you want for free.

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With the new theater-streaming service, you can watch performances from Broadway, the West End, and other elite venues around the world to your heart’s content from your living room with a seven-day free trial.

YouTube, AppleTV+, and Amazon Prime video have all begun to reduce default streaming bitrates in Europe, following a similar move by Netflix. The actions came about after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton called on streaming services to restrict image quality to lessen the burden on Europe‘s internet infrastructure.

The time of COVID-19 is particularly tough for parents of young kids, so Swami Kumaresan, President & COO of, is encouraging companies to do their best to support parents when dealing with this challenge. Relieving pressure is a key point in this situation as well as setting appropriate expectations from parents with kids at home. Richard Banfield — VP of Design Transformation, InVision, suggested a ‘homeschool’ slack channel where all insights, links, and resources would be shared.

Healthcare workers keep receiving help with protective masks, scrubs, and gowns on a daily basis. The latest retailer who joined this help-train is Gap Inc. They are also helping with making protective equipment and delivering to hospitals although they are temporarily closed.

Airbnb showed the effort to help with ongoing problems by providing “free or subsidized housing” for 100,000 people working as frontline healthcare. With newly established protocols, spaces for medical workers will be clean and safe to use. Airbnb will be working with the Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, the International Medical Corps and other non-profit groups to help allocated space where it’s needed most. In the meantime, Starbucks announced it will offer free coffee to frontline workers until May 3.

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Many museums like the Met, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt are offering virtual tours while people are staying at home. MoMA prepared videos, podcasts, virtual exhibitions, as well as free online courses for people to spend quality time alone or with their families in quarantine.

Many more famous brands are doing their best to help in these circumstances, even if it means just closing their shops and preventing spreading the virus there. Those examples should be an invitation to all of us to help as much as possible in any way we can and to stay united. This should be an inspiration and initiator to think of the ways we can help locally, maybe start by helping a neighbor or your grandparents or just staying at home following the rules.

These are times where we can see humanity shinning at it’s best, people turning to each other, fighting together and giving hope that we will survive this, together and united. Big brands are doing the same. They are increasingly ramping up their focus on social responsibility which goes a long way towards attracting and retaining customers. All that while doing something good during the crisis. And we’re here to applaud them.

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