The Brand Move Roundup – April 27, 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.

Pioneer in microfinance and social enterprise FINCA International has launched its first-ever FINCA Emergency Response Fund for COVID-19. Grants and donations raised from this campaign will provide immediate and ongoing financial, livelihood and health needs of customers and their communities across FINCA’s global network of banks and social enterprises in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We know that our customers, staff and partners living and working in low-income countries will bear the greatest burden from COVID-19. Their financing and health needs will be immense and must be addressed with right-sized, long-term solutions for greater resiliency,” said Rupert Scofield, President and CEO.

Luxury French fashion house Saint Laurent has revealed that it will no longer show its collections at Paris Fashion Week. “Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” said the brand. “Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm, legitimating the value of time and connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives.” Instead of unveiling its collections in the traditional format, by showing at Paris Fashion Week, the brand will “launch its collections following a plan conceived with an up-to-date perspective, driven by creativity.”

The Block by Blockwest music festival, staged entirely in online world-building environment Minecraft, was so popular — more than 100,000 people logged in, three times what its organizers planned for — that it crashed the server and has been rescheduled. Meanwhile, rapper Travis Scott debuted a 10-minute virtual “concert” in Fortnite. 12.3 million were there for the debut concert, and millions more attended the four other showings over the weekend, which saw a giant hologram of Scott play songs from his new album, and debut a brand new track.

The first night of the National Football League draft, held digitally from living rooms and offices across the country, was the league’s most-watched opening round ever. An average of 15.6 million people watched Thursday night on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network channels, according to the league. That’s up 37 percent from last year, and a 26 percent jump from the previous record for an opening round set in 2014. The NFL draft usually goes up against Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association games, forcing it to work a bit harder to grab viewers. But because of the coronavirus-spurred shutdown, it was the only major sports telecast of the night this year.

For the past five years, Walgreens has raised money for Red Nose Day by selling the iconic Red Nose in stores nationwide. But due to the COVID-19 health pandemic, Walgreens has overhauled its retail strategy and created the first digital Red Nose. Americans can donate online to unlock the new Red Nose filter to be shared on social media.

Italian top-flight soccer team Juventus, along with its First Team players and Juventus Women have launched a fundraiser in support of the Piedmont region for the purchase of medical supplies, and for the support of healthcare facilities and all medical staff. The first donation, of €300,000, was made jointly by the club and the players, “with the desire to send a strong message of awareness: #DistantiMaUniti (Distant but United),” said the club, “that in respecting the rules to prevent the spread of the virus, we can win this match.”

Tour buses that would usually ferry music stars to venues across the UK have been handed over for use as “hotels on wheels” for NHS workers. Tarrant Anderson, who runs the touring company Vans For Bands, said the industry was “on its knees” during the lockdown, but he had moved to help after seeing pictures of exhausted doctors and nurses on social media. After being checked over to make sure the buses met lockdown guidelines and NHS health and safety standards, they were stationed in hospital car parks to offer respite to staff.

With people forced to work, learn, and socialize from home, apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Houseparty have seen spikes in downloads as they become essential to daily life. According to SensorTower analytics, some of these apps have had downloads increase by more than 1,000% between February and March when most US lockdown orders were first issued. Perfect Cream, a mobile game where users decorate cakes, had a whopping 11,844% increase in downloads. The game, which had the second most downloads in the Android App Store in March, went from only 36,000 downloads in February to 4.3 million in March.