The Brand Move Roundup – May 5, 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.

Shares in jewelry maker Pandora rose on Tuesday as higher online sales and a strong return of consumers to reopened stores in Germany encouraged investors, despite a steep decline in first-quarter operating profit. The world’s biggest jewelry maker was forced to close almost all its 2,746 shops worldwide in the first quarter due to the coronavirus lockdown, but said it was on track to resume growth after strong sales in the first two months of the year. “The second quarter will not look pretty in comparison to last year, but the more important thing is that we see economies starting to reopen and consumers coming back out again,” Chief Executive Alexander Lacik said. He was encouraged by the quick return of shoppers in Germany, where 116 shops reopened at the end of April. “German shoppers have in eight days returned to the same level of activity that took 10 weeks in China,” Lacik said.

Tesla’s new Model 3 was the biggest-selling car in the UK last month, aided by its online-order-and-distanced-delivery sales strategy, as Elon Musk’s electric car company continued to deliver to customers despite the lockdown. Some 658 Model 3s were registered – 15% of all car sales in April, with almost three-quarters of those bought by private buyers. Jaguar’s electric I-Pace was in second place. However, UK new car registrations fell by 97.3% in April, compared to a year ago, with just 4,321 new cars sold – down from 161,000 a year ago. The decline was the steepest since the 1940s, and is in line with similar falls across Europe, with France 88.8% down and the Italian market falling 97.5% in April.

For tequila brand Patron, advertising during the run up to Cinco de Mayo usually encourages people to head to their local bar. This year, the tequila brand is using its advertising to drum up interest in a virtual event of sorts via Instagram Live, where 20 bartenders will teach viewers how to make different margaritas at home. “We’ll have an arsenal of social ads on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote a tune-in message,” said Adrian Parker, VP of global marketing for Patron, adding that the company will use the same approach for online video and TV spots. “It’s an interesting shift [for us to use] TV and some other social assets as the trailer for an Instagram Live moment. Typically, you wouldn’t use your TV ads to direct to the second screen.” Patrón’s effort includes partnerships with delivery companies like Drizly and local restaurants for ready-made cocktail pickup. Leveraging Instagram as its campaign hub aligns with the brand’s past efforts on the social platform, including integrating an ordering capability into Stories, and may allow Patrón to extend the campaign’s reach and adapt its messaging in near real time based on consumers’ reactions.

In soccer, Germany’s Bundesliga is set to return to action on May 15 with Germany about to announce measures easing the current lockdown restrictions in the country. The decision will be made in a teleconference with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. The government is expected to allow large shops to reopen, with May 11 the target date, while top-level football will resume matches under strict conditions; games will be played behind closed doors, with no spectators allowed, while regular testing will be carried out on players and staff. The Hungarian professional football season, suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak since mid-March, will re-start on May 23 with two Cup ties and a league game, the country’s football federation, MLSZ, has said. Hungary is another of the few European countries to confirm a start date for the resumption of the season alongside Poland (May 29) and Portugal (May 30). The MLSZ said that “all matches (will be) subject to strict conditions to safeguard the health of all concerned” and would be played behind closed doors. Meanwhile in the UK, Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has suggested halves of less than 45 minutes could be considered when football resumes. Discussions about the Premier League’s return are ongoing but Taylor says players are “concerned” about safety. The Premier League, though, said the idea is “not on the table.” The Premier League is hopeful of a potential 8 June resumption.

Uber is in talks to lead a $170 million financing in scooter rental firm Lime, whose business has dropped sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic. The potential deal would value Lime on paper at $510 million, after the proposed cash infusion, a 79% drop from its previous valuation. Uber already owns a minority stake in Lime, but the deal would significantly increase its share. As part of the proposed deal, Uber would transfer to Lime the bike and scooter business that the ride-hailing company purchased in 2018, called Jump. Uber would get the option to buy Lime between 2022 and 2024 at a specific price, and in the meantime Uber would feature Lime scooters more prominently in the Uber app.

As the gaming world booms during lockdown, Singapore-based Internet company MyRepublic has created an esports programme to engage gamers. The program, called Achievement Unlocked, is tied to games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Monster Hunter World Iceborne, Legends of Runeterra, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Gamers will be rewarded for unlocking various weekly or season in-game achievements like PlayStation credits, Steam store credits, or GrabFood credits. MyRepublic subscribers will be entitled to additional rewards. “Achievement Unlocked is our way of celebrating the talented, passionate, and dedicated gamers in Singapore from all walks of life,” said Lawrence Chan, managing director of MyRepublic Singapore.

Twitter usage spiked to 166 million daily users in the first quarter of 2020, as more people flocked to the site to keep up with news on the coronavirus pandemic. The usage growth is the largest Twitter has ever reported year-over-year, up from 134 million during this same quarter last year (and up from 152 million daily users at the end of 2019). But the growth wasn’t enough to offset the sudden advertising decline caused by the pandemic; from March 11th on, Twitter saw a 27 percent drop in year-over-year ad revenue. This led to Twitter missing out on $20 million to $80 million that it had initially expected to bring in by the end of the month, and the company ultimately posted its first loss since 2017. User growth is headed in the right direction, but it seems unlikely at this point that Twitter can hit whatever advertising targets the company agreed to. Twitter now says it’s accelerating its work on advertising products, including one that lets companies promote mobile app downloads directly inside the Twitter feed.