Week: 13th – 17th April

by Interbrand

The latest of Interbrand’s regular round-ups of brands’ responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic

Fashion & Retail

Craft, arts and vintage marketplace Etsy has sent a push notification to every craftsperson on its website in the U.S.: “Calling all sellers,” it said. “Start making face masks.” The website is becoming a go-to destination for homemade cloth masks. Etsy says there was an average of one mask-related search on the site every two seconds in March.

Last week, more than 10,000 sellers sold at least one mask apiece. Unlike the medicalgrade equipment now in woefully short supply at U.S. hospitals, cloth masks can be quickly constructed by anyone with a sewing machine and some elastic.

That means the skillsets of legions of Etsy crafters are suddenly in very high demand. “We believe that the Etsy community is uniquely positioned to address this crucial need during a global health crisis,” the company’s CEO, Josh Silverman, wrote. “We hope that increasing the availability of fabric, non-medical grade face masks from Etsy sellers will allow more medical and surgical masks to reach the people who need them most: front-line healthcare workers.

This is an unprecedented moment in time that will undoubtedly shape who we are as a society. It’s a moment for the Etsy community to band together, to do something important – something that serves a public good and will benefit the world as a whole.”

Beverage giant Coca-Cola has turned over its social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – to outside organizations including the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club, Feeding America and the Salvation Army. The channels “have large audiences and we felt the Coca-Cola brand could use its reach to help and support communities and organizations,” a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Nike’s innovation, manufacturing and product teams, together with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), are to design and build Personal Protective Equipment in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus. Nike’s version of the full-face shield transforms elements of the brand’s footwear and apparel into muchneeded PPE. Collar padding once destined for shoes is repurposed; cords originally earmarked for apparel reconsidered; and, most important, the TPU component of a Nike signature—the Nike Air soles—reimagined.

Global retail clothing chain Primark has announced it will create a fund to help pay the wages of the millions of garment workers affected by its decision to cancel tens of millions of pounds worth of clothing orders from factories in developing countries across the world.

Collectively brands including Primark, Matalan and Edinburgh Woollen Company have cancelled £1.4bn and suspended an additional £1bn of orders in Bangladesh alone as they scramble to minimise losses in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic. The move has already seen more than a million Bangladeshi garment workers lose their jobs or be sent home without pay. Primark has announced that it will create a fund to help pay the wages of workers linked to orders that were due for shipment in the month after they were cancelled in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Heinz has announced the launch of new delivery service ‘Heinz to Home’ in the UK. Its first-ever online shop will initially sell canned goods before expanding to sauces as well as the imminent launch of a bundle filled with baby products. President of Kraft Heinz Northern Europe, said in a statement: “The shop is a first for us, and it comes in response to stories we’ve all heard in the last few weeks about people struggling to access food and basic necessities. While we continue to work day and night to get our most loved Heinz varieties on the shelf, we hope this new initiative will help those who cannot otherwise access our products.”

High-end UK department store chain the John Lewis Partnership is designing and installing a wellbeing area for medical staff and volunteers at the NHS Nightingale Hospital at Excel London. It will be the only area of the facility designed to give all staff a space to relax and take time out from the challenging environment of treating patients with Covid-19.

Travel & Hospitality

Hotel chain Marriott, with support from its credit card partners American Express and JPMorgan Chase, has committed to provide $10 million worth of hotel stays for healthcare professionals leading the fight against COVID-19 in the United States. The initiative, called Rooms for Responders, will provide free rooms in some of the areas most impacted including New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Newark, N.J.

Rum brand Bacardi is putting £1.5m into #RaiseYourSpirits, an initiative to help bars and bartenders in the UK and Ireland weather the coronavirus crisis. A key plank of the plan is the launch of a virtual bar with Deliveroo Editions, allowing bars to keep serving customers by delivering cocktails to their homes. It will initially include 120 bars in London and Manchester. The scheme is focused on independent bars that do not have the benefit of corporate support. As well as working with Deliveroo, Bacardi is supporting businesses and staff by hiring bartenders to host training events or serve cocktails, and paying their fee in advance; it is also prepaying for events held in bars.

In April, Delta airline started providing free flights to medical professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis and began utilizing Delta’s wholly owned aircraft interiors subsidiary, Delta Flight Products, to manufacture face shields to protect hospital workers.

Sports & Media

PopSugar, the most engaged-with women’s lifestyle site in the U.S., has created a new advertising program to support women-led small businesses, which have been greatly impacted during this uncertain time. The site will donate 50 million advertising impressions across its owned and operated channels to women-led businesses as well as design resources to help businesses create new ads.

The donated media placements will include a rotation of standard banner ad sizes across the PopSugar network, banner placements in newsletters, and inclusion in editorial and custom posts where relevant. “We are committed to helping women live their best lives and follow their dreams so we want to help however we can,” said founder and President Lisa Sugar. “Our hope is that this new project brings awareness to smaller businesses who might not be in a position to proactively advertise their services.”

George and Amal Clooney have joined the celebrities giving to coronavirus relief efforts, with the actor and human rights lawyer donating more than $1 million to six organizations – $750,000 total ($250,000 each) to the Motion Picture and Television Home, the SAG-AFTRA Fund, and Los Angeles Mayor’s Fund.

They gave an additional $300,000 to three international charities: the Lebanese Food Bank, Lombardo Italy Region, and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Amal is both British and Lebanese, so the couple’s donations to the Lebanese Food Bank and the NHS are personal. The Clooneys have a house in Lombardo, Italy; their donation to the Lombardo Italy Region will help local hospitals there. The couple is also helping actors and entertainment industry workers in the U.S.: The Motion Picture and Television Home and SAGAFTRA Fund are helping provide financial aid to those affected by the entertainment industry’s widespread shutdown because of the pandemic.

English Premier League soccer players have launched a collective initiative to help generate funds for the National Health Service. The initiative – named #PlayersTogether – has been set up to help those fighting for us on the NHS frontline amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement posted by more than 150 top-flight players on social media, they said they were “collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other league and club conversation”. The intention, they said, was to “try and help, along with so many others in the country, to make a real difference.”

Financial Services

In Ireland, automaker Renault and insurance company AXA are providing frontline healthcare workers who have returned from overseas to fight the pandemic free cars and insurance for two months. The program, called “Covid Car Cover,” is aimed at doctors and nurses who have returned to Ireland in the last month to assist with the pandemic. “It shows real courage to come home from overseas to help us fight the battle and we really appreciate what these returning doctors and nurses are doing,” said Paddy Magee, country operations director at Renault Group Ireland. “We want to help these men and women get organized with practical things like cars and insurance as they prepare to return to hospitals around the country and this is the most practical way in which we can help,” added Antoinette McDonald, a Director at AXA Ireland.

US auto insurance giants Liberty Mutual, Allstate and American Family Insurance have announced they are returning premiums to customers during the novel coronavirus pandemic, saying people are driving less and they are experiencing fewer claims.

Liberty Mutual has announced that it will return $250 million to clients, Allstate pledged to return $600 million, and American Family Insurance said it would return $200 million. Liberty Mutual’s Personal Auto Customer Relief Refund will return approximately $250 million to customers; personal auto insurance customers will receive a 15% refund on two months of their auto premium.

Allstate said most customers will receive 15% of their monthly premium in April and May through a credit to their bank account, credit card or in their Allstate account. “Given an unprecedented decline in driving,” said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Allstate, “customers will receive a Shelter-in-Place Payback of more than $600 million over the next two months.

This is fair because less driving means fewer accidents.” American Family Insurance said they will give customers a one-time payment of $50 per vehicle that is covered by an American Family personal auto policy, and expects to print and distribute 2.3 million checks within the next two months. “American Family Insurance is doing this out of responsibility to our customers. They are driving less and experiencing fewer claims. Because of these results, they deserve premium relief,” Telisa Yancy, the company’s chief operating officer, said.


Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, has pledged to donate $1bn (£800m) to fund coronavirus research to help “disarm this pandemic”. Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006 and went on to co-found payments company Square, tweeted on Tuesday that he was donating $1bn of Square shares to a charitable fund, called Start Small, to “fund global Covid-19 relief”. Dorsey, 43, said the donation was equivalent to about “28% of my wealth”. Dorsey has a fortune of about $3.9bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It is by far the biggest single donation to the global fight to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Samsung Electronics has given tablets to educational institutions for children affected by school closures. In its home country, the company has provided its employee education centre to medical authorities for the purpose of being used as a patient care centre.

To help healthcare organizations get set up quickly and scale their connectivity, HPE Aruba has created the Airheads Volunteer Corps, a registry of volunteer network engineers ready to assist in the build out of network infrastructures for medical facilities on the front lines of dealing with this pandemic. Almost 200 engineers spanning more than 20 countries signed up in the first 48 hours after the initiative launched.

Social sharing tool Snapchat’s latest AR filter lets users donate directly to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. With the Snapchat camera, users can scan 23 international currencies in 33 countries.

The AR filter will show how donations to the WHO are used for patient care, medical supplies and research. Snapchatters can then donate and encourage friends to do the same. Snapchat is also giving media publishers covering COVID-19 on its Discover platform a swipe-up-to-donate feature. To date, over 68 million Snapchat users have viewed COVID-19-related content on the platform, so the feature has the potential to reach a huge population. Snap says over 40 percent of Gen Z in the US has tuned in to the content.

Apple has made changes to its Apple Maps app to better promote things like food delivery and medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple’s adjustments follow similar changes made by Google Maps. Grocery stores are now featured at the top, followed by a new category for Food Delivery. Other categories that are less practical during the COVID-19 outbreak have been shifted downwards. When you choose the new Food Delivery category, you see all of the nearby restaurants that are open and providing delivery options. Elsewhere, Siri has been updated to include a new questionnaire for queries about coronavirus.

Apple Card customers can also defer their payments without penalty due to the economic uncertainty caused by the outbreak. And in a development that will be welcomed by struggling music labels and artists, Apple Music is making a $50m advance fund available for independent labels and distributors, to support the indie sector with vital cashflow during the uncertainty of global COVID-19 lockdown.

In the face of a massive fall in demand for ride-sharing, Uber has introduced the Work Hub, a new way for drivers to find other work, whether with Uber or another company. While encouraging drivers to switch to its Uber Eats delivery service, the company is also accepting signups for Uber Works, which connects people to shift work like food production, warehouse, and customer service in Chicago, Dallas, and Miami. And with Uber Freight, where carriers get paid for every load they deliver, they are providing priority eligibility screening for drivers with a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

The Work Hub will also include opportunities outside of Uber – companies that are currently hiring, like Domino’s, Shipt, CareGuide, and others; it will be including links to job postings for other companies. “The most important thing we can do right now is support drivers.” Said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO. “They’re doing essential work to keep our communities moving as we fight this virus, but with fewer trips happening they need more ways to earn. With the Work Hub, we hope drivers can find more work opportunities, whether with another of Uber’s businesses, or at another company.”

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