Campaigns We Like: COVID-19 edition

By Steven Wong, Cofounder  |  Apr 3, 2020


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We’re paying close attention to what brands big and small are doing to connect with their customers' evolving needs in the era of COVID-19.


Here's a quick snapshot of work that caught our eye. We will keep adding examples as we see them.









This has been the most common tactic we've seen so far, providing customers with access to a subset of products and services for a limited time to help them through the pandemic.


Campaign: NFL Game Pass

What’s good: The NFL is offering their Game Pass product for free to view full broadcast replays and condensed games.



Campaign: San Francisco Chronicle free coronavirus coverage

What’s good: The Chron has lowered their paywall to content that the San Franciscans need to keep abreast of the current events.



Campaign: Headspace free meditations

What’s good: The popular meditation app has made free a selection of meditations called, "Weathering the Storm."



Campaign: Hootsuite free access to Professional plan

What’s good: Organizations in affected industries (restaurants, hotels, event venues, performing arts, etc.) may use the professional version of Hootsuite's social media management software, at no cost until July 1st, 2020.



We've seen some promotions that come across as tone-deaf, but those that are doing it right demonstrate an awareness of their customers' needs and offer value that strengthen their customer relationship.


Campaign: Allstate Shelter-in-Place Payback

What’s good: Allstate is looking after their customers by rewarding them for sheltering in place with discounts on their insurance.

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Campaign: Ram truck's payment assistance program

What’s good: Ram truck's Drive Forward program highlights "No Monthly Payments for 90 days and 0% APR for 84 months" on select Ram vehicles.

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Giving advice is always tricky. Make sure it's relevant to your audiences and credible coming from your brand.


Campaign: GoDaddy Open We Stand

What’s good: GoDaddy is launching a brand movement for small businesses, backing it with advice for how the get through these tough times.




Campaign: Coursera Together

What’s good: The popular online learning platform is offering free online learning and community resources during COVID-19.



employee matching

Brands are expanding their employee charitable giving programs to include organizations focused on COVID-19.


Campaign: Coach We Love 

What’s good: The fashion brand has committed $2 million to matching employee donations towards the COVID-19 response efforts.



waiving Penalties

Minimizing the impact on customers by allowing payment deferrals and waived cancellation fees.


Campaign: Apple Card payment deferrals

What’s good: Many credit card companies are allowing their cardholders to defer statement payments.




Campaign: Hotwire self-cancellations

What’s good: The travel industry is launching new tools to enable travelers to more easily change or cancel their reservations.




Buy-one-give-one charitable giving models

Charitable giving mechanisms that enable customers to contribute through their purchases.


Campaign: Crocs healthcare donations

What’s good: Crocs is donating a free pair of shoes to healthcare workers on the frontlines with each pair purchased.



Campaign: Madison Reed Direct Relief

What’s good: The hair color brand is donating $5 of every purchase of specific products to Direct Relief.



Free shipping

Free shipping to encourage online purchases.


Campaign: Starbucks

What’s good: Free delivery through Uber Eats

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Campaign: Chipotle

What’s good: Free delivery for online orders through March.



Campaign: DoorDash zero commission

What’s good: DoorDash and Caviar will eliminate commissions on orders for restaurants through the end of April.



Campaign: Walgreens free shipping

What’s good: Walgreens is offering free shipping with no minimum, and expedited shipping through Postmates for a fee.

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fundraisers and Grants

Businesses are sponsoring fundraisers and set up grants for small businesses.


Campaign: Intuit Small Business Relief Initiative

What’s good: Intuit seeded $1 million into a fund that small businesses can access if they setup a public GoFundMe campaign.



Campaign: Facebook Small Business Grants Program

What’s good: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses.



Campaign: Google Ads credits for SMBs

What’s good: Google is giving $340 million in ad credits to SMBs worldwide to use on Google Ads platforms before the end of 2020. 



Influencer marketing

Influencers are teaching their audiences tips and tricks for getting through the pandemic.


Campaign: Thomas Frank WFH Tips

What’s good: Popular influencers are sharing their tips and tricks for how to work from home.

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at-cost products

Restaurants are offering takeout meals at cost to keep their staff employed.


Campaign: Manresa family meals to go

What’s good: Restaurants are offering to go meals at cost to keep their staff employed.



employee relief pledges

Large employers are publicly pledging significant sums of money to provide economic relief to their employees.


Campaign: MLB pledges $30M for ballpark employees

What’s good: MLB’s 30 teams are stepping to the plate to help those employees, with every team donating $1 million to the cause.


fighting the coronavirus

Some businesses are in the rare position to directly fight the COVID-19.


Campaign: AB InBev hand sanitizers

What’s good: The world's largest beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is producing sanitizer at breweries in New York and California.



Campaign: Dyson CoVent

What’s good: The consumer products company known for their high end vaccums is manufacturing 150,000  ventilators for hospitals.



Campaign: Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool

What’s good: Apple has launched an online app that lets users screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.


fighting the coronavirus

Other businesses are supporting frontline healthcare workers.


Campaign: Sweetgreen Outpost free meals

What’s good: Sweetgreen is providing free food for hospital workers and medical personnel at some of their Outpost locations.



Campaign: MIXT community support

What’s good: The salad chain founders have a multi-pronged approach to feeding frontline healthcare workers and also those in need.



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Brands acknowledging the pandemic in ways that are relevant to their brand and its purpose


Campaign: Airbnb COVID-19 Responders Housing

What’s good: Airbnb Hosts help provide housing to 100,000 COVID-19 responders.



Campaign: FedEx special shipping operations

What’s good: FedEx set up a special operation to help the U.S. government quickly move COVID-19 test specimens from more than 50 remote drive-thru testing centers at major retailers across 12 states.



Campaign: Markforged 3D printed test swabs

What’s good: 3D printing startup, Markforged, is making test swabs for the COVID-19 tests.



Campaign: Lyft delivery of medical supplies and meals for seniors in need

What’s good: While ride demand is temporarily down, Lyft has expanded their services to include delivery and transportation partnerships with healthcare, government, and businesses to help both those in need and their own drivers.



Messaging reminding us that we're all in this together.


Campaign: Nike You Can't Stop Us app

What’s good: Nike is promoting their app as a way to help everyone stay active, positive, and healthy — together.



Campaign: Coca Cola billboard

What’s good: Coca Cola modified their logo to space out the letters, while promoting a message of unity.




Campaign: Chipotle Lunch Party

What’s good: Chipotle is hosting digital lunch parties featuring free burritos and celebrity guests via Zoom.



Campaign: Adidas #Hometeam campaign

What’s good: Adidas is hosting a series of virtual events to keep people creative, fit and having fun.



Open communications about the impact the business is feeling, and how they are coping with it.


Campaign: Amazon's COVID-19 blog 

What’s good: Many brands have set up a dedicated blog to share updates on their COVID-19 response



As audiences feel overwhelmed, content creators are providing an escape with 'Comfort Content'.


Campaign: NYT The Daily podcast 

What’s good: As more of us are isolated at home, content that is geared towards taking the emphasis off the current pandemic is more and more sought after.

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Most brands have the best of intentions. However, customers will be watching out for those that appear to be taking advantage of the crisis, so be thoughtful in your messaging.

  • Don’t overstate your contribution
  • Don’t ignore our circumstances. Review your communications to make sure they are appropriate
  • Don’t make decisions for your customers that they have not consented to
  • Don’t be divisive
  • Don’t ask for contributions unless you are able to demonstrate what your company is already doing to help
  • Don’t confuse or conflict with directions given by public health officials


Back to the top ^


Last week the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, Roaring Out of Recession. The key message was that those businesses that outperformed their rivals after the crisis selectively cut costs and focused on operational excellence while investing in marketing, R&D, and new assets.

Neither those companies that cut cost fast and deep, nor those that ramped up spend faired as well.

And we're wrapping up this post with a quote from Sister Corita Kent, one of our favorite pop artists, "Make Hope."

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Topics: content marketing, creative, email marketing, advertising, email, case studies, inspiration

Steven Wong, Cofounder

Steven Wong, Cofounder

Steven helps address challenges while bringing big ideas to life. At agencies such as MRM/McCann, Digitas, and Saatchi & Saatchi, he has managed cross-disciplinary teams, developed relationship-building programs, and crafted plans to turn leads into customers. In leading award-winning creative campaigns, he has helped transform business needs into engaging customer experiences. In 2002, Steven co-founded The Natural Tea Company, a retail chain in Hong Kong. He graduated with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley, by way of a major in materials science and engineering.