Coronavirus Impact: From logos to games; brands go full throttle in marketing the cause

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Updated: Apr 14, 2020 5:16 PM

From McDonald’s to The Coca Cola Company, brands have tweaked their logos urging consumers to maintain social distance

71% consumers believe coronavirus must not be exploited by brands to run commercial promotions71% consumers believe coronavirus must not be exploited by brands to run commercial promotions

At a time when maintaining social distance has become the new norm, brands too have taken the move seriously, so much so that they are now trying to create awareness among consumers – however not all is received well. For example, a few days back, the social media accounts of McDonald’s Brazil reworked the Golden Arches and separated them. The move, however, drew flak as people called it ‘opportunistic and insensitive’. Moreover, the former US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders too called off the move on his social media platform stating “give your workers paid sick leave.” Later, the brand pulled-off the message from all its social media platforms. Interestingly, public criticism hasn’t stopped companies from adopting the move. Over the last few days, several companies tweaked its logo – in an effort to raise awareness around the spread of the novel coronavirus. Industry experts believe that brands play an important role to spread awareness through responsible communication. “The entire message on social distancing is something that has to be seen positively. This is because consumers’ expect their concerns to be echoed by brands that they care about in a relevant manner,” Neha, marketing director, Pizza Hut India told BrandWagon Online. Earlier this week, the quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand tweaked its logo from Pizza Hut to Pizza Home to communicate the importance of staying indoors. Through this, the company also promoted its contactless delivery.

Brands such as Audi, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen were some of the brands to roll out the new logo towards the middle of March. 71% consumers believe coronavirus must not be exploited by brands to run commercial promotions, reveals data from the latest study by Kantar Media depicting the need to plan ads carefully. According to Shivam Ranjan, marketing head, Motorola Mobility India Pvt Ltd, while one aspect of the Covid-19 communication is to ensure that it is being able to create awareness about safety measures, the other aspect involves continuous engagement with consumers. “As a brand, if you are able to do these in the times of crisis, it helps you stay more relevant and establish an emotional connect with the consumers,” he added. The mobile handset player too recently tweaked its logo.

And that’s not the end of the game. A few brands have gone ahead and launched new initiatives. For instance, Fynd a fashion e-commerce portal has rolled out a new hyper-casual game called Corona Striker as part of its social initiative. In the game, a player battles with the ‘virus’ in this case a monster to prevent the infection from spreading. “Games are excellent at capturing the attention of diverse groups and can have a lasting impact. With Corona Striker, we are sharing socially relevant information in an appealing framework to encourage more people to practice social distancing, and to stay safe and healthy.” Farooq Adam, co-founder, Fynd, said.

For brands consultants as more and more brands join the social initiative bandwagon – there is a chance of the lines blurring between selling a commercial and truly being responsible through the communications. “In order to not come across as a mere marketing stint, brands must focus on communicating the support extended by them towards larger causes such as employment, donations as well as initiatives undertaken to help people during the crisis. These should be reflected in the overall communication of any brand,” PKD Nambiar, CEO and chief strategist, Flags Communications- a marketing consultancy, said. So will brands succeed – only time will tell!

Read Also: Coronavirus Impact: Marketing during a crisis and beyond

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