The Brand Move Roundup – April 2, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

In China, the biggest public health crisis in two decades has enticed 3,000 newcomers to the Personal Protective Equipment industry this year, according to the Sina news portal, adding to a field of 4,000 who produced 4.2 billion face masks last year or half the world’s output, according to government data. Among the ‘new’ entrants are a clutch of juggernauts – car makers BYD and SAIC-GM-Wuling, iPhone assembler Foxconn and oil and gas producer Sinopec. BYD chairman and founder Wang Chuanfu led a team of 3,000 engineers working round the clock to build a factory in Shenzhen over the weekend. The nation’s largest electric car maker will install the world’s largest line with a capacity of 5 million masks per day. SAIC-GM-Wuling, a General Motors joint venture in China, said last month its production capacity in the southwest Guangxi region had reached 1.7 million masks a day.

Cloud-based creative software specialists Adobe has made a $3 million commitment to helping local and global organizations offer support to the vulnerable. Adobe is joining forces with other tech leaders in the Bay Area to support the COVID-19 Coronavirus Regional Response Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a trusted foundation that serves a network of local non-profits. Adobe’s $1 million donation will help provide low-income individuals and families in Santa Clara County through The Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System Financial Assistance Program with immediate financial assistance to help pay rent or meet other basic needs. The firm is also making a $1 million donation to the COVID-19 Fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the recognized global leader in providing rapid disaster relief and basic human and medical services. Adobe’s support will help aid vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 around the world. And they are committing $1 million to match – and double – employee donations to organizations that are providing direct COVID-19 relief efforts in the Bay Area and in the communities where they operate around the world.

After recently donating protective equipment and supplies to the state of New York, and following last week’s news that singer Rihanna will pledge a donation of $5M in COVID-19 relief support through her Clara Lionel Foundation, it has been confirmed that rapper Jay-Z will match her support in the amount of $1M through the Shawn Carter Foundation. By joining forces, the two entrepreneurs and philanthropists will commit a total of $2M to aiding financial crises for undocumented workers in New York City and Los Angeles, children of healthcare professionals and first-responders, as well as elderly and homeless populations, who are most directly impacted by the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a statement, the grants previously announced by CLF will support on-the-ground efforts in marginalized communities throughout the United States, Caribbean and Africa. Funding provided by the artists will go specifically towards organizations including the Mayor’s Fund for L.AFund for Public Schools, the New York Immigration Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

At the other end of the musical spectrum, country music legend Dolly Parton has donated $1m (£800,000) to research into a coronavirus vaccine. The star wrote on Instagram:

“My longtime friend Dr Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards that research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.” Abumrad works at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation at Vanderbilt University hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. He and Parton became friends in 2014 after the singer was involved in a car accident and was treated at Vanderbilt.

Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha has made a donation of 1.5 million yuan (US $211,000)  to Chinese relief efforts through the Shanghai Charity Foundation. In a statement, the company said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., with our group companies in China, have together provided a donation of 1.5 million yuan through the Shanghai Charity Foundation as part of efforts to help and prevent further spread of the infection. It is our sincere hope that the affected people recover as quickly as possible, and that we can effectively combat the infection going forward.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that the company is committing $800 million in resources, targeted to help small businesses and those responsible for responding to the pandemic. A majority of the $800 million figure (about $510 million) will come in the form of ad grants and Google Ad credits. The company will donate a $250 million ad grant to the World Health Organization and more than 100 other government agencies to spread information on how to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Last month, Google had committed about $25 million to this effort. Google also said it would help increase production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical equipment. The company said it would offer financial support, but did not disclose an amount. Google would also enlist its employees to help the federal government and other manufacturers of much-needed equipment with the effort. Small and medium-sized businesses will also be able to take advantage of about $340 million in Google Ad credits. Google will automatically add the credits to eligible accounts and will be available through 2020. It is unclear how Google will decide which businesses are eligible for the credits and how much they would receive.

Pichai also said the company would help under-served small businesses by offering a $200 million investment fund. The fund would support financial institutions and other non-governmental organizations finance operations in offering availability of cash. Meanwhile, another partnership between Google and California educational authorities has been announced to improve wifi and broadband access, with 100,000 hot spot points of access throughout the state to high-quality broadband, free for at least 3 months. Google has also announced that they will be providing thousands of Chromebooks to students.

Global payment facilitators Mastercard have joined with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to speed up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic. matching employee donations to relief efforts, and have contributed to funds like the China Women’s Development Foundation, local food banks in the U.S. and donated 25,000 respirator masks to New York City hospitals. And, through their partnership with Scholastic, they are making our Girls4Tech online curriculum for grades 3–7 available to parents and teachers looking for learning resources.

Telecomms network Verizon are tripling the data allowance for Verizon Innovative Learning schools and committing $10 million to nonprofits directed at supporting students and first responder healthcare workers. “Verizon stands ready to support our community members during this challenging time,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon Chairman and CEO. “We will continue to work closely with partners to help provide resources and care for those who need it most.”

Salesforce is making some of its technology available free for a period of time to help customers and partners navigate through the crisis. They have launched Salesforce Care rapid response solutions to help companies stay connected to their employees, customers and communities, in addition to making Quip Starter available to any business and providing access to Health Cloud for healthcare systems experiencing an influx of COVID-19 requests. And governments and organizations around the world are using Tableau’s COVID-19 data hub to see and understand data about the pandemic.

They are also continuing to support communities at the local, national and global levels – to date, they’ve donated $3 million to UCSF’s COVID-19 Response Fund, the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund and San Francisco’s Give2SF Fund and have been matching employee donations to eligible organizations. The firm has also contributed medical masks to the UCSF hospital system in San Francisco, the Telangana State Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation in Hyderabad and SOS Médecins in Paris. In Israel, they have donated to Magen David Adom to support its emergency response to the virus. They are working hard across all of their resources and relationships, say the company, to deliver additional masks and critical personal protective equipment to hospitals and medical professionals.

The Coca-Cola Company and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation (set up by one of the Coca-Cola company’s long-time leaders) have pledged $10 million to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta  n support of the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The foundation and the company will donate $5 million each to the fund to help address the needs of those most vulnerable to economic and health-related impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Launched on Tuesday with $1 million from CFGA and $500,000 from United Way, the fund will award grants to nonprofits and agencies focused on providing critical services to high-risk populations, including seniors, families with children who normally receive free or reduced meals at school, families in need of child care, homeowners and renters at risk of eviction, and hourly/low-wage workers.

As grocery stores around the world have struggled to meet high demands, Kraft Heinz Co. supported their efforts by donating $12 million in both cash and food. The American food company also launched the #WeGotYouAmerica campaign, showing appreciation for all the plant workers ramping up food production.

The outerwear brand Canada Goose will make scrubs and patient gowns to be distributed across Canada. It also donated 1 million Canadian dollars to the Wuhan Charity Federation.

Luxury brand Chanel has given 1.2 million euros to an emergency fund for the public hospital system and promised its employees eight weeks of salary. It also plans to make masks and gowns.

In London, high-end shoemaker Jimmy Choo will donate $500,000 to support relief efforts both in the brand’s home country of the UK and globally. Half will go to the National Health Service, and the other half will go to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

In Milan, Versace is donating a total of $500,000 to support local institutions, including the San Raffaele Hospital’s intensive-care unit and the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana). This is in addition to the 1 million yen that Versace donated in February to support the Chinese Red Cross Foundation.

WarnerMedia has promised to provide a $100 million relief fund for those who were working on productions across the corporation. CEO John Stankey’s memo to employees said, “We are stepping up with a commitment of more than $100 million to assist team members of those productions during this time. And as things evolve, we’ll continue to evaluate how we can best respond to the challenges we face as an industry as a result of this pandemic.”

NBCUniversal chair Jeff Shell, who was diagnosed March 26 with a mild case of coronavirus, said the corporation would commit “over $150 million across our film, television and parks businesses to help our employees and other workers, and to at least partially bridge the period before normal operations can restart.”

Netflix was one of the first companies to announce a coronavirus relief fund, with the bulk of the $100 million set to go toward laid-off production workers.

The BBC has donated more than $800,000 to the UK’s Film and TV Charity, aimed particularly at freelancers who are out of work during the pandemic.

In partnership with Nestlé, Freshly is donating $500,000 to Meals on Wheels America and is still accepting donations

In response to the global economic impact of COVID-19, social media software maker Hootsuite is offering free access to its Professional plan to help small businesses and nonprofits stay connected to their customers and audiences, plus, they’re offering access to a free library of Hootsuite Training Videos to help businesses engage with their audience, create content efficiently, and manage crisis communications.