COVID-19 has impacted the world’s population and with social distancing, connections are harder to make. Most states such as New York, Ohio, and California have shut down completely with only essential businesses running. The consumer context is shifting. What will brands do to stay connected?

Amidst this horrible virus, some companies are using their advertising power for social impact and to promote the practice of social distancing. Big brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola,and Chiquita have recently put out ads urging Americans to stay home and stay apart. Other brands are finding new ways to be relevant to consumers and exercise corporate stewardship. 

After looking at six weeks of ad placements in a COVID-19 world, some brands have successfully made a pivot. There are three levels of brand presence emerging during these times:

  1. Brand Relevance – Reinforcing existing brand position and benefits.
  2. Re-purposing – Contributing core capabilities to aid + serve
  3. Social stewardship -Using media buys to add voice

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Share advertising, promotion, and media examples of brands that made the pivot in a COVID-19 world. Share at or on our social channels.

1.   Brand Relevance

There are brands whose primary offerings lend value to the context  today’s consumer finds themselves in. Several brands are leveraging ads to remind people of their presence, while extending a benefit that naturally fits what consumers are looking for.

Land Rover is using this time to reinforce what they’re all about. Exploration and adventure in places that many people don’t experience.
WeatherTech informs consumers that their product can be easily disinfected. The brand addresses consumer concerns about the spread of viruses on surfaces and illustrates that their mats can be easily cleaned compared to carpet coverings.
See ad here
2.   Re-Purposing CapabilitiesSeveral brands are leveraging their production and manufacturing capability to be apart of the pandemic supply chain. They are using infrastructure and materials to increase its supply of much needed safeguards against the virus.
LVMH is switching from producing perfume to making hand sanitizer.
London Based Distillery, 58 Gin, has halted their alcohol production in order to make hand sanitizer
Apparel companies such as L.L. Bean and Louis Vuitton are transitioning to making masks and other medical gear. Don’t worry about these brands being opportunistic and generating branded PPE (swag). According to the New York Times “The masks coming from luxury labels are unbranded and intended for front line workers; not available for the general public to buy.”
Check out story here
3.   Social Stewardship

Many brands are using their ad spending in a way to drive social impact by reinforcing that our personal responsibility and best defense against virus spread is social distancing. This builds brand value by looking beyond profit and directing focus towards issues that matter.


Coca-Cola uses their ad to promote social distancing as the best way to stay united. This ad was placed in Times Square New York. The New York metro area has become the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.
Nike uses their ad to reach out to those with athletic aspirations who must shelter in place during this time of uncertainty. By staying home, they have the chance to play for the world.
NO FAKE NEWS! Mucinex used their ad spending to bring light to the misinformation that is often taking place during this COVID-19 time period. Misinformation adds additional risk to an already dangerous situation.
Chiquita uses their ad on Instagram to promote social distancing claiming that the Chiquita woman is “already home”. This ad urges people around the world to head home and stay put.
Concluding Thought:The way brands make connections with consumers is changing. Instead of pushing messages out and focusing on reach, brands now have to position themselves in a manner to fit the consumer’s current context. Brands have to convey that what matters to the consumer, matters to them.



JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Share advertising, promotion, and media examples of brands that made the pivot in a COVID-19 world. Share at or on our social channels.