The Brand Move Roundup – June 23, 2020

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

Seventeen weeks ago, when the gravity of the situation became clear, we started daily reporting on how brands were dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. What’s now becoming clear is that the current climate is one of near-perpetual disruption. So we made the decision to keep on telling the stories of inspiring brand leadership and strategy amid the latest crises in an anxious world. Our goal remains the same: to provide an up-to-the-minute source of information, inspiration and insight on brand moves as they happen.

Patagonia became the latest company to announce that it will be suspending its Facebook ad spend through the month of July. This followed decisions from The North Face and REI to also pull their spend. The #StopHateforProfit social activism campaign, a coalition from the NAACP, ADL, Color of Change, Sleeping Giants, and Common Sense, is calling on companies to pause their July Facebook ad spend. In a statement, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp of marketing said: “We deeply respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.” This isn’t the first time for the social media giant; in 2018, the NAACP called to boycott Facebook; in 2017 and 2018, the two largest advertisers, P&G and Unilever, each told Facebook to clean up its act or they’d pull their spend. Tesla, Mozilla and Commerzbank all boycotted Facebook briefly in 2018 too. Will this time be different?

Dreyer’s Ice Cream will change the name of its Eskimo Pie product, the latest in a series of brand decisions that attempt to root out racism in marketing. Widespread protests against police brutality and the legacy of systemic racism has prompted brands including Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat to commit to change branding that taps into nostalgia for slavery. Other brands with problematic mascots, like the NFL’s Washington Redskins and Chiquita Banana, have also come under fire. Land O’Lakes quietly removed its mascot, a Native American woman, from its label earlier this year. Eskimo Pie was one of several other Native American mascots that have yet to be removed. “We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is inappropriate,” said Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.” Eskimo Pie was invented in 1920 by Christian K. Nelson. Though the term “Eskimo” is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik peoples, it’s considered derogatory in many parts of the world because it was given and used by non-Inuit people and said to mean “eater of raw meat,” denoting barbarism and violence.

A conservative activist was barred by American Airlines after being removed from a flight when he refused to wear a mask. The passenger, Brandon Straka, recorded his exchange with an airline employee on Wednesday after boarding the plane and shared it with several media outlets. In the video, the employee referred to an American Airlines policy that requires all passengers and crew members to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The policy, which went into effect on May 11, makes exemptions for children, passengers with disabilities and medical conditions, and for people eating or drinking. It is similar to the policies of other major airlines; Delta has also suggested that passengers who won’t wear a mask may be barred from future flights. American Airlines said in a statement on Thursday that after reviewing the episode that Mr. Straka would no longer be allowed on any of its flights for as long as the mask requirement is in place. “As a result of this review, Mr. Straka will not be permitted to fly American, as he failed to comply with our stated policy and crew member instructions,” the airline said. “We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and team members, which is why we strengthened enforcement of our policy for required face coverings on board. We expect customers who choose to fly with us to comply with these policies, and if necessary, we will deny future travel for customers who refuse to do so.”

Australians took to the shops in May as the initial easing of the Covid-19 lockdown, combined with stimulus cash flowing into bank accounts, fueled record monthly gains.

Preliminary retail figures showed turnover rose 16.3% from April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Following a record 17.7% slump in April, May’s increase was the largest in 38 years of published surveys, with gains in every industry, the bureau said. “There were large rises for clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, as restrictions on trade were lifted during May,” the bureau said.

Lockdowns and restrictions continue to skew food and beverage sales toward home consumption. “Food retailing rose as households continued to consume additional food and beverages at home during May,” the statistics bureau said. “Levels in liquor retailing remain high, as restrictions on hospitality, such as bars, clubs and events, remained in place for May.”

Meanwhile, in England, shoppers returned as non-essential stores reopened but numbers remained well down on a year earlier, according to the latest survey of retail footfall. Springboard, a company that measures the number of potential customers at retail outlets across the UK, found that footfall in the week starting 15 June was up 45% on the previous week. But with numbers influenced by later reopenings in Scotland and Wales, restrictions on public transport and a shift to online shopping, footfall was down 54% on the same week in 2019. Footfall indicates the number of people going to high street stores, shopping centers and retail parks and is not a measure of how much each consumer spends. Numbers were at their weakest during April, when they were down 80% year on year, but Springboard said reopening non-essential stores in England had resulted in the biggest change since the start of the lockdown in late March. Smaller weekly increases of 11.5% in Scotland and 8.5% in Wales were reported, while footfall in London’s West End remained severely affected by a lack of international visitors to the UK and the difficulties in accessing public transport. Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The overall result for the UK was subdued by Scotland and Wales where retail reopening is yet to happen. We anticipate an additional uplift to come when retail in these areas of the UK also reopens and the hospitality and entertainment industry is given the green light to resume trading in the coming weeks.”

By reintroducing the $5 Footlong sandwich promotion, Subway is hoping to turn back the clock to a time in the chain’s history remembered for its sales growth. The limited-time offering, which began this week, is accompanied by a new ad campaign and a jingle familiar to longtime fans, though updated to appeal to a younger audience The $5 Footlong’s roots was first launched nationally in 2008 at the beginning of the financial crisis. The bargain was so appealing to cost-conscious consumers that in the following year, it generated billions in sales. By 2010, the $5 Footlong was a $4 billion brand. During the course of its 10-year run, the likes of Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps, a fan of the meatball and jalapeno sub, would serve as the promotion’s spokesmen.

Image library Getty Images has shared some recent keyword trends, starting from mid-March when the virus took off in the U.S. The data in this specific study compares April 2020 to April 2019 searches, showing that consumers are looking for imagery to reflect their current situation. Images for “social distancing” are over 72,000 searches, searches for “virtual event” amount to over 12,000, and “working from home” and “exercise at home” tally over 3,000 searches. Two of the newest and most significant terms, according to Getty Images, were “social distancing” and “virtual party.”