COVID Compendium for Global Marketers

COVID Compendium for Global Marketers

COVID Compendium for Global Marketers

What actions are brands taking around the world?

In response to the Covid19 outbreak we wanted to provide an open-source resource for brand owners and the wider marketing industry: a compendium of brand actions around the world. 

We have taken creative license with the 6Ps of marketing to help group ‘marketer actions’ into topics that you can easily digest. The final section consists of links to external information kindly provided by our partners which may also be of use.

This is designed as a global hub to provide inspiration. We would welcome information about your own experiences and actions (anonymously if you prefer). You can share your story here.

Latest additions:

The 6Ps of Brand Response


Brands supporting the people that support their business

Olympic-level training, courtesy of P&G

P&G Turkey sponsors 30 athletes each year under the local initiative ‘Olympic Moms’, claiming that ‘every mom helping her children to do sports is an Olympic Mom’. As the athletes have to #stayhome, at least for this year, P&G made the best of the situation. Employing 'their' athletes as well as their family members (including moms, sisters, brothers and nephews), P&G created short videos showing how to do sports in the comfort of ones living room as a family, even without any equipment.

Brand: P&G

Market: Turkey

Source: P&G


Beer pre-orders to support pubs

Brewing giant AB InBev has launched a series of initiatives to prompt financial support to local pubs and bars facing uncertainty during this time. Efforts are currently under way in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil and Canada, amongst others. In each country, the company has launched promotional efforts allowing customer to purchase vouchers for their favourite bars, financially supporting them at a moment when many of them have closed due to government-mandated shutdowns. 

Brand owner: AB

Brand: AB InBev

Markets: UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Canada

Source: AB InBev

AB InBev Belgium

UN calling

The UN is launching this first-ever open brief to creatives everywhere to help spread the public health messages in ways which will be effective, accessible and shareable. It is not a single campaign, according to the document – the UN is looking for a multitude of creative solutions to reach audiences across different cultures, age groups, affiliations, geographies and languages. "We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply. We cannot resort to the usual tools in such unusual times. The creativity of the response must mach the unique nature of the crisis - and the magnitude of the response must match its scales." 
Brand: UN
Market: Global
Source: UN
UN global brief.JPG

A friend in need...

Unilever is, amongst other measures, considering early payment to agencies and other small and medium-sized suppliers that may be struggling in the current situation. As Alan Jope, their CEO, explained: "We hope [...] that by helping to safeguard our workers’ incomes and jobs, we are giving some peace of mind during these uncertain times. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet mean that we can, and should, give this additional support."

Brand(s): Unilever

Market(s): to be defined

Source: Campaign




Whiskey brand Jameson is stepping up to help support bartenders, a lot of whom are now out of a job due to bars closing for the coronavirus. On social, the Pernod Ricard brand announced its pledging $500,000 to support the charity of the United States Bartenders’ Guild. “We know there may be some hard roads ahead for members in this community,” reads a tweet with the hashtag #LoveThyBartender. “To our local bartenders: You’ve always had our backs, and we promise to have yours.” Jameson is also matching every dollar donated by others up to $100,000 to the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program until the end of March. 

Brand owner(s): Pernod Ricard

Market: USA

Source: Twitter



Brand activity that boosts morale

Bringing home the fun

Hasbro's new content marketing program is targeted at families looking for things to do while home during school closures. The Bring Home the Fun website features games and activities for kids, as well as suggestions for projects that include Hasbro toys like Play-Doh crafts and trick shot challenges for Nerf blasters. There are mindfulness videos and parenting articles about how to teach kids gratitude and purpose. Parents can share their tips using the #BringHometheFun hashtag.

Brand: Hasbro

Markets: Global

Source: Marketing Dive


Cooking lessons from the (Burger) King

Going out to eat has been one of the many things made much more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. For customers in quarantine craving their signature burger, Burger King France has now provided a tongue-in-cheek DYI guide to satisfy that desire. The simple image It shows a list of ingredients needed to make a Whopper. While it doesn’t give any directions on how to make it, the basics are there for any determined home cook.

Brand: Burger King

Markets: Global

Source: The Drum

Burger King cooking lessons

Spreading facts

Reckitt Benckiser brand Mucinex has launched a campaign titled "Spread Facts, not Fear", featuring a number of images illustrating best practices for staying safe during the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition, every ad directs viewers to – a website with up-to-date information compiled from the WHO, Johns Hopkins and other international experts.

Brand: Mucinex (RB)

Market: Global

Source: The Drum



A(ir) time to save lives

AB InBev announced it will donate media air time to the Red Cross for public service announcements in the USA. The brewer also announced that it will redirect $5 million that it normally spends on sports and entertainment marketing to the American Red Cross.

Brand: AB InBev

Market: USA

Source: AdAge

AB Inbev.jpg

Re-purposing ad spend

Many have cut their advertising investment. Coca-Cola Philippines however decided to re-invest their p150m spend (~$2.9million) into a Covid-19 relief: “provision of protective equipment and beverages for health workers, delivery of food packs to the most vulnerable families, and support for affected small retailers.”

And others followed suit. Also in the Philippines, Ligo Sardines announced that it would  be re-allocating its entire 2020 advertising budget to non-governmental organizations, charities, and independent groups that are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

More recently, AB InBev announced it will redirect $5 million that it normally spends on sports and entertainment marketing to the American Red Cross to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Market(s): Philippines, USA

Brands: The Coca-Cola Company, Ligo Sardines, AB InBev

Source: The Coca-Cola Company, (Ligo Sardines), AdAge (AbInBev)

Coca Cola Philippines.jpg

Staying home, staying safe

In response to wide-spread "stay-at-home" advice, IKEA has created an ad touching on this surreal homebound moment. While the spot was created specifically for Ikea Spain, it was produced in both English and Spanish, and it’ll likely resonate with just about anyone around the world. The spot avoids a direct sales message, though it suggests “maybe this is the time to rearrange the furniture.”

Brand: IKEA

Market: Spain

Source: AdWeek

IKEA Stay Home.PNG

Putting aside differences

Unilever's soap brand Lifebuoy has put competition to one side by promoting non-Unilever brands in their advertising. The work features the line: "Please use the soap nearest to you. Not just Lifebuoy but any soap like Dettol, Lux or Hamam."

Brand: Unilever

Market: India

Source: Campaign



Estée Lauder’s Weibo hashtag “We Can Win This Fight”, associated with the brand’s celebrity video messages, has been viewed more than 61 million times and has generated 328,000 discussions.

Brand owner(s): Estée Lauder

Market: China

Source: Gartner/ Brand Channel


Bringing the gym home

Nike Training Club partnered with Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, to stage a live-streamed workout event for those who can’t access gyms or workout facilities. The event encouraged people to stay active and focus on their health during the crisis, providing them with workout routines designed to strengthen their muscles, and, in turn, their immune system.

Brand owner(s): NIKE

Market: China

Source: Financial Review


Raising spirits (and Irish Stout)

Guinness made the best of the situation with a unifying ad from Philadelphia-based agency Quaker City Mercantile. The spot never specifically mentions coronavirus but the ad alludes to the fact that the holiday won’t be the same this year. “Don’t worry, we’ll march again,” says an Irish-accented voiceover against parade and party scenes that this year are unlikely to occur, including Chicago’s tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green, which has been postponed.

Brand owner(s): Diageo

Market: USA

Source: AdAge


KFC stops Finger Lickin’

KFC has suspended a UK campaign that focuses on finger-licking after the Advertising Standards Authority received multiple complaints that the content was inappropriate during the coronavirus outbreak. The campaign, created by Mother London, capitalized on the brand’s long-running “finger lickin' good” tagline, with a TV spot that turns post-chicken finger-licking into a sensual experience by setting it to piano music by Chopin. It also included billboards with the words: “It's” and “good” positioned around the mouths of people licking their fingers.

Brand owner(s): KFC (Yum! Brands)

Market: UK

Source: AdAge


Virtual clubbing and Chinese music label Taihe Music Group have partnered to create an online clubbing experience, partnering with major alcohol brands to enhance the experience. The Chinese e-commerce giant is hosting a three-hour show each week with talent from Taihe Music Group, during which it sells imported liquor brands that viewers can buy directly from the stream.

Brand owner(s): AB InBev, Carslberg, Pernod Ricard

Market: China

Source: The Drum


Virtual get-togethers over Mexican food

Chipotle, the Mexican grill chain, has been offering customers virtual get-togethers on Zoom as part of their ‘Chipotle Together’ campaign. Every day for one week, it used Twitter to invite up to 3,000 fans to join a video conference and enjoy a mixture of entertainment and prizes. Each session comprised Chipotle-inspired presentations, celebrity guests and chances to win vouchers for free online deliveries.

Brand owner(s): Chipotle

Market(s): USA

Source: AdWeek



Brands changing their focus to deliver on critical needs

Becoming an ingredient brand

Brewers and distillers around the world are getting involved in efforts to ramp up production of hand sanitiser, either by pledging alcohol as a key ingreditent for hand sanitizer companies, free of charge, or even repurposing their production line to produce the must-needed resource.

Brands: AB InBev, Bacardi, Brown Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Super Bock, BrewDog

Market(s): Several

Source: Diageo; Reuters; Kentucky; CNN



Shifting production to cheerful masks

Cheerful face masks are helping to combat the spread of the coronavirus in Bulgaria thanks to a small company in the capital Sofia. The masks are printed with owls, dinosaurs, llamas and monkeys and will soon find their way to hundreds of doctors and policemen who are struggling to get their hands on the protective gear.

Country: Bulgaria

Source: RTL

Cheerful masks.jpeg

Beauty industry rallies to produce hand sanitiser

Luxury giant LVMH will use its perfume production lines to start making hand sanitiser to protect people against the coronavirus outbreak. The luxury goods maker says it wants to help tackle a nationwide shortage of the anti-viral products across France. “These gels will be delivered free of charge to the health authorities," LVMH announced. Cosmetic giant L'Oréal announced similar actions.

Brand owner(s): LVMH, L’Oréal

Market: France

Source: BBC, Cosmetics Business

LVMH sanitizer.JPG


Price-related measures that brands are taking

Bundles of joy

The florists at BOLT Amsterdam in The Netherlands began offering a bundle of 200 tulips, and allowing customers to choose what to pay, to support the tulip industry amidst COVID-19. Customers can decide whether to buy the direct-from-the-farmer tulip bundle below, above, or at cost price. The initiative aims to prevent tulips from ending up in landfills and support tulip growers.

Brand: BOLT Amsterdam

Market: The Netherlands



Swipe, match, chat

Tinder, the online dating app, is giving all users, until April 30th, free access to its Passport feature, making it easy to swipe, match and chat with other members, irrespective of where they are in the world. The Passport feature is currently a paid feature for users under Tinder’s premium subscription plans.

Brand: Tinder

Market: Global

Source: The Verge


Assurances in unpredictable times

Hyundai USA has released a new television spot called "Unpredictable". In the spot, Hyundai announces reinstating its Assurance Job Loss Protection program to support customers affected by the uncertain business and financial environment created by Covid-19. Hyundai will make up to six months of payments for new owners who lose their jobs and have purchased or leased their vehicle between 14 March to 30 April 2020 through their financing service.

Brand: Hyundai

Market: USA

Source: The Drum


Once upon a time on Amazon

As schools and workplaces close, leaving many parents at home with their kids all day, Amazon has offered a small reprieve. For as long as schools are closed, Amazon’s audiobook platform Audible lets families stream their book collections for free. Books are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian.

Brand owner(s): Amazon

Source: CNN



Discounts for wellbeing

GM is launching a sweeping program aimed at keeping Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners safe and connected while also helping to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus. The automaker is offering 0 percent interest, 84-month loans and deferred payments of up to 120 days to customers in top credit tiers, GM spokesman Jim Cain said. Ford and Hyundai have announced similar programs aimed at helping buyers during a period of economic uncertainty. GM is giving all current owners of its vehicles free OnStar crisis-assist services, which can help them locate medical services or meet other needs. GM also is giving customers 3GB of data to help them stay connected in their vehicles.

Brand owner(s): General Motors

Market: USA

Source: AdAge


Payment relief

Ford is pulling all national ads promoting its vehicles and will replace them with a new campaign describing how it is responding to the coronavirus, including giving Ford Credit customers some payment relief. The effort includes two new spots, “Built to Lend a Hand” and “Built for Right Now,” from Wieden+Kennedy New York, which play off the automaker’s regular tagline, “Built Ford Proud.”

Brand owner(s): Ford

Market: USA

Source: AdAge


Fighting price gouging

Clearly this is not a time to be opportunistic. Representing brand owners; the Consumer Brands Association in the USA wants the Department of Justice to stop retailers from jacking up prices hand sanitizer, masks and other coronavirus essentials. 

Brand owner(s): CBA

Market: USA

Source: CNBC

Price Gouging.png


Brands changing or transforming contact points to benefit public

Partners for good

Deliveroo has teamed up with BP fuel stations and Marks & Spencer to offer deliveries of basic essentials for households in self-isolation. The deal will see customers able to order products including milk, bread and juices, and a range of pizzas and ready-meals, the firms announced. Around 120 M&S franchises will be signed up across the UK, and there will be no delivery fees, Deliveroo added. The company also said it has launched a separate Essentials by Deliveroo service - which will include tinned goods, pasta and household items - as the country waits to see if a widescale lockdown is imposed.

Brands: Deliveroo, Marks & Spencer, BP

Market: UK

Source: ITV


Eating out by eating in(side)

A coalition of eateries, including Panera Bread, Ruby Tuesday, Noodles & Company and Jason's Deli are asking customers to either order a meal for delivery or pick up on Tuesday, March 24 for The Great American Takeout, in a bid to support the struggling restaurant industry. The #thegreatamericantakeout hashtag was used to raise awarenes and rally consumers.

Brand: The Restaurant Association

Market: US



Great American Takeout.PNG

Going for a (virtual) pint

After switching up their UK bars to click & collect via their Hop Drop app, craft brewer BrewDog will now open 102 bars online this 27 March, with the new virtual bars offering beer tastings, homebrewing masterclasses, pub quizzes, live music and comedy.

Brand: BrewDog

Markets: Global




An instruction manual on how to "STAY HÖME"

IKEA Israel put out a new instruction manual for its customers. The simple image instructs viewers to ""STAY HÖME". Required components include a house, 1x key, 1x lock, 100x rolls of toilet paper and firm instructions to keep one's doors shut.

Brand: IKEA

Market: Israel

Source: LinkedIn



Stay inside. Just do it.

Nike's latest campaign advocates for the need for social distancing in the fight against COVID. The ad states: "If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world." Within an hour of its release, a batch of Nike athletes had posted the ad on their social media channels, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiger Woods and Carli Lloyd.

Brand owner(s): Nike

Market(s): USA

SourceThe Drum


NIKE Play Inside.PNG

Online pop-up stores

Louis Vuitton’s physical stores were closed in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, so the brand launched an online pop-up store within the WeChat app, with live chat for pre-sale consultations and promotions shared via store associates online. Online sales were double those of Valentine’s Day 2019.

Brand owner(s): LVMH

Market: China

Source: Gartner/ Brand Channel

LV Wechat.png

Supermarkets & banks protect the vulnerable

UK’s Iceland supermarkets are opening earlier to specifically serve older customers. Many others have followed suit.

Brand owner(s): Iceland

Market: UK

Source: Guardian


Free hand washing for the public

Cosmetics retailer Lush are inviting the public into stores across the UK to wash their hands for free. The firm is using its shop windows to promote the hand-washing guidelines as advised by the NHS in the UK and other public health organisations around the world.

Brand owner(s): LUSH

Market: UK

Source: Guardian


Lush handwashing.jpg


Some insights from our partners

FMCG: Fast-Monitoring Consumer Guidance

As consumers the world over are forced to adapt their purchasing habits, Nielsen is tracking these patterns and offering guidance on what to expect at different stages of quarantine measures. Nielsen highlights the need for FMCG and retail to leverage technology as well as to be transparent about supply chains to customers.

Source: Nielsen



Keeping it brief

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company are issuing regular briefs updating business leaders with current perspectives on the pandemic and advice on how to best manage it. Two recent think-pieces, ‘Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal’ and ‘Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time’ outline the five time frames business leader need to plan for and the steps brands can take to limit socioeconomic disruption respectively.

Source: McKinsey & Company


Supplying the facts

Market research organisation GfK have produced a report detailing the extent of disruption that COVID-19 poses to consumer behaviour, supply chains and retail sales. It extrapolates business lessons to be learned from China’s management of the crisis, how supply in the US and Italy have been affected, and the likely long-term effects on price rises and shortages. Their ‘Corona Crisis Compass’ is updated regularly to reflect changing dynamics in their point-of-sales and distribution network and consumer trends.

Source: GfK


Tracking on a macro level

Bain & Company have combined official data and their own modelling methods to create the Situational Threat Report (SITREP) Index, which advises companies on the measures they should be implementing and the disruption they can expect in response to the coronavirus. The level currently sits at 6 out of 10, meaning that businesses should already be implementing first-level contingency measures such as restricting all non-essential travel. The expected impact on the global economy is set to worsen over the coming weeks and Bain & Co. will continue to monitor the pandemic’s effects and update the index accordingly.

Source: Bain & Company

bain & company.png

A heart-warming snapshot of human adaptability

Research agency 2CV is publishing a series of videos in which its staff document how they are adapting to the challenges of living in quarantine. More importantly, they asked the team to mention an unexpected positive impact that lockdown has had on their lives. Future videos in the miniseries promise to ask consumers to submit their own videos.

Source: 2CV


Don’t go silent

According to research by Kantar, only 8% of consumers want advertising to be put on hold during the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, out of a global sample of 35,000 consumers, 74% thought that brands should not seek to exploit the situation for profit. The sample is split on how companies should address consumers, however: 50% think brands should talk as they have always done and 50% think companies should talk about their own brand in a carefree and light way. “That gives a sense of how delicate the balance is at the moment,” says Kantar Insights chief innovation officer, Rosie Hawkins. “There is a need to talk about brands, but to do so in a way that supports governments and consumers and is not exploitative.” The key takeaway from the report is to focus on long-term brand building and health without pulling all ad spend, especially for smaller brands.

You can request to read the full report here. 

Source: Kantar


Seven tips for sourcing

The WFA’s Sourcing Board has put together a list of tips for adding value to marketing procurement at this time. They promote face-to-face discussions with strategic partners over video chat, candidness and brevity when getting to the point (avoiding impersonal condolences). They also address the importance of listening to others, whether that be to partners’ financial concerns, their ideas for digital campaigns, or to colleagues with outside experience of effective coronavirus measures, especially those in Asia.

The full article can be read here.

Sourcing tips.png

How to adapt when a done deal comes undone

In this ‘Sponsorship and experiential marketing during COVID-19' webinar by WFA, Lumency CEO Ian Malcolm shared on how to navigate marketing procurement processes in the wake of the pandemic. Special focus was given to evaluating lost value from disrupted sponsorship deals and how to rework experiential marketing during the crisis. The full webinar can be watched here, in addition to the downloadable slide deck, a template spreadsheet for re-evaluating contracts and a transcript of the Q&A session.

Source: WFA

WFA webinar sourcing.JPG

Trust Barometer: the private sector should play its part

A special Trust Barometer by Edelman demonstrates the essential role of businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, as well the impact brand actions have on purchase decisions. Among those surveyed, “my employer” was the most trusted source of information; in 8 in 10 countries “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than “my country”. The findings also express high expectations for business to collaborate with government and to protect employees and the local community (78%). People also demand that employers are open about how the virus is impacting the organisation’s ability to operate and that they are informed beyond the effect on the company, including advice on travel and what can be done to stop the spread of the virus. 

Markets: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, UK, USA

Source: Edelman


Ipsos report: Coronavirus in China: Impact & Recovery

Ipsos’ 39-page report, Coronavirus in China: Impact & Recovery, outlines the development of the population’s perception of the virus, from outbreak and initial public confusion, to normalisation of home isolation, to future financial concerns. It details the accelerated developments of trends observed before the outbreak and assesses which may remain long after recovering from the crisis. 

Market: China

Source: IPSOS


Observing your best interests

Global consulting firm Observatory International is offering a free advice line to WFA members to help marketing teams adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and limit disruption. Their global reach and impartiality make them great advisors in times of uncertainty. Simply email them with “WFA enquiry” in the subject line and a quick summary of the challenge you’re facing or the question you have - and a deadline of when you need an answer.

Source: Observatory International


Advice in a crisis

Global Data Bank is offering WFA members complimentary session s to help solve a data-driven advertising challenge. Topics they can assist with include reallocating budgets from cancelled campaigns to digital and GDPR compliance, among others. Simply request an online session via the ‘contact us’ form on mentioning ‘’WFA member’’ in the title.

Source: Global Data Bank

Global Data Bank

Content fit for remote working

APR has released a bulletin with information on how to adapt content production process in the face of the pandemic. The advice ranges from policy (being aware of government and World Health Organisation guidelines), to consumer trends (the spike in e-commerce and consumers’ responsiveness to user-generated content), to practical considerations to reduce contact and take advantage of remote working (employing CGI and audio).

Source: APR


National leadership initiatives

Leadership initiatives by national industry associations

Marketing Finland

The Finnish association is offering an eLearning Academy, as well as a COVID hub for guidance and news; the latter features a section on brand initiatives and how brands can help navigate these challenging times. 


ANFO Norway

The Norwegian association is providing a Corona Tracker based on a survey of their members. A Facebook group allows people to share how brands are responding to COVID through good (and bad) examples. 

ANFO covid.JPG


ANA has launched a content hub dubbed 'The business of marketing in the age of COVID-10', featuring a number of brand examples and useful resources. An ANA coalition has also been formed to help the marketing community manage the ongoing global crisis.  

ANA covid.JPG