How some brands are stepping up in a crisis

Posted on by Guy Cookson

It is always interesting to see how different brands respond in a crisis.

To discover which will get creative, capture the moment, and do something meaningful (while at the same time generating useful publicity).

One of the first out the gate with a positive news story was the French conglomerate Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (also known as LVMH).

LVMH announced in mid-March that it would use some of its vast perfume and cosmetics factories to manufacture free hand sanitiser for the French health authorities “for as long as necessary.”

Not to be outshone, Apple said they would be donating 10 million surgical masks to healthcare workers in the US and were in the process of using their might in supply chain management to source millions more for coronavirus hotspots in Europe.

“These people deserve our debt of gratitude for all of the work they are doing on the frontlines,” explained Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Meanwhile an extraordinary consortium of manufacturers – including Airbus, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Unilever – have come together to build 10,000 ventilators for the UK government to help treat patients who have contracted coronavirus.

Since the country entered lockdown one of the few ways people have been able to stay in touch with family and friends is by phone.

In response EE announced they would be giving vulnerable and disabled customers free calls, texts and data to help reduce social isolation.

As a way to show its support and appreciation Pret A Manger decided to make hot drinks free and to knock 50% off everything else for NHS workers  during the current crisis.

With schools closed and many parents struggling to make ends meet, Heinz has pledged to give 12 million free breakfasts to school children at risk of starting their day hungry.

Some brands have used ad campaigns to reinforce important health messages while cleverly underscoring the values they are best known for.

A good example is a current advertisement for Volvo on social media.

“Right now, the safest place to be isn’t in a Volvo,” the ad copy reads on a plain dark background.

“Stay home. Save lives,” someone has added as a caption.


A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column by Guy Cookson on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post. See our brand, web design and marketing recent projects.

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