Brands’ COVID-19 Responses: the Power of Purpose

  • Strategy
  • March 27, 2020
  • by Eve Rouse
  • 6 minute read

Now here’s a blog post we never thought we’d be writing... Many businesses (as with us), are proving agile with their marketing in response to COVID-19. And there’s a tonne of brands stepping up. Some, through thoughtful communications; some, through new initiatives; others, through incredible gestures. Let’s look at the lovely stuff.

Brands supporting through products

Pai Action Spirit | DTC Brands COVID-19 | Shopify Plus Agency

Pai Skincare

London-based organic skincare brand, Pai Skincare, worked around the clock to help curb the hand sanitizer shortage through launching their new product, Acton Spirit. A hand sanitizer, which, for every tube bought, Pai give a second away to a school, nursery or beauty bank charity. Helping you stay clean and do good. P.S. we adore the product name!


With the crucial need for distancing, as a brewery and pub chain, BrewDog’s business has been hit hard in all of this. However, BrewDog were on the forefront in turning their efforts towards producing hand sanitizer, and began giving bottles away free to local charities and others in need.

Since, they’ve launched BrewDog Drive Thru, alongside a service delivering craft beers and food straight to cars. Very reactive.

What’s more? Many of the chain’s senior team members are voluntarily taking pay cuts, whilst their founders are forgoing their full salaries to protect their team.


Luxury-goods conglomerate, LVMH, have been taking us by storm since they began. And amidst the COVID-19 crisis, nothing’s changed. Over recent weeks, we’ve seen the group divert perfume production and begin using their factories to create hand sanitiser, as well as order 40 million face masks to reduce France’s shortage. (And this came after a hefty donation of $2billion to Red Cross Society China). Hats off.

Brands keeping us all connected

AARMY | DTC Brands COVID-19 | Shopify Plus Agency


Boutique fitness studio, AARMY, are keeping their people pumped during studio closures. The trained force have created a daily line-up of bootcamp, cycle, and unique fitness challenges through Instagram Live. And all for free. So you, reading this—there’s no excuses!


Next, a little less strenuous. Netflix just made remote-group-watching happen. Meet ‘Netflix Party’, a brand new (and free) Chrome extension letting you and your friends chat on a sidebar, whilst watching your favourite episodes—all together! Well, sort of. It’s not quite curling on the couch and sharing popcorn, but it is a genius invention at a challenging time. Nice one, Netflix.


Another brand quick to respond with an initiative to keep their community linking up is Mexican Grill chain, Chipotle. Enter ‘Chipotle Together’, a series of digital lunch parties powered by Zoom. Featuring celebrity guest Q&As and free burrito give-aways. Yum.

Brands showing thoughtful communications

Astrid & Miyu | DTC Brands COVID-19 | Shopify Agency

Astrid & Miyu

Contemporary jewellery brand, Astrid & Miyu (see Founder Connie Nam captured above) have been serving up content that’s creative and motivational throughout COVID-19, nudging us to stay home and stay sparkling. And they’re serving it up on the regular. We remote workers are really digging their team’s home office set-ups coming through to our emails. More WFH realness, please!

Pst, the brand have also been super clear in their comms around hygiene measures. Bonus points!


Whilst we can’t control what happens during a crisis like this, we can control how we communicate. Another brand whose communications have impressed us is Lightbox Jewelry. We’re seeing the laboratory-grown diamond brand use their voice to show gratitude to key workers—big love for this.

“We also want to thank our medical communities and emergency services for their tireless and selfless work”


As more and more people are urged to isolate, homeware giant IKEA are encouraging a different, more-positive perspective on staying home. In a new campaign, ‘I Stay Home’, the brand are motivating people to find positivity in being confined to their houses—capturing the senses and lifting the mood. Watch the video.


Now, we’re turning your attention to technical and sustainable surfwear brand, Finisterre. With a huge social-conscience, it was unsurprising to see this brand speaking to their community in the right way during all this uncertainty. Their copy’s warm, it’s personal, and it’s clever. We love it.

“Navigating uncharted waters”

“We’ll...keep you inspired for the time when we can collectively embrace our coastal playground”

“Wishing that you, your families and friends stay healthy. Please keep an eye out for one another.”


Now, let’s look at Everlane. A versatile, fashion basics brand, giving us a lesson in tone-in-voice during crises. As the turbulence of COVID-19 unfolds, Everlane have nailed the balance of making their comms light and positive, whilst staying serious and sensitive. Finishing a thorough email, they wrote (in an admirably self-deprecating and human way):

“We’ll probably be in touch more than usual during this time. Though we promise not everything will be a long-form letter;) We look forward to continuing the conversation. Take care out there.”

Lighthearted, honest, succinct, and authentic.

Brands offering kind gestures

Nuddy _ DTC Brands COVID-19 _ Shopify Plus Agency


We’re also seeing brands do some phenomenal acts of kindness. Take Pret. As COVID-19 spreads, now, more than ever, our NHS workers have needed access to fresh food—and made quickly. Though their stores are shut now, the coffee and food giant set the bar high when they swept in to serve our NHS workers free hot drinks (and a whole 50% off everything else).


And it’s not just the retail giants doing their bit. Independent soap company, Nuddy, warmed our hearts as they began offering free soap bars very early on, as many shoppers found this necessity was becoming scarce. Our words to Nuddy: you’re simply wonderful.


Another brand who have put a smile on our faces? Heinz stepping in to help the children. With schools closing their doors and many kids risking hunger, Heinz launched their ‘Breakfast Isn’t Going Anywhere’ campaign. Teaming up with Magic Breakfast (a charity who provide breakfasts to hungry school children in disadvantaged areas), Heinz will provide 12 million free breakfasts to the kids that need them the most. Heinz, you’re our hero.

Desmond & Dempsey

Now, say hello to a special something. Luxury sleepwear brand, Desmond & Dempsey, have launched a personal and heart-felt initiative as part of their Gift 4 Good concept. The brand are inviting their community to nominate someone deserving of a little extra comfort in the form of a pair of D&Ds. The stock will be taken from the sample sale they were going to have before the world turned upside down—until that pile runs out. Simply lovely.

And do note, this sits aside an abundance of materials D&D have sent their customers over recent weeks: books, podcasts, films to listen to, amongst comforting things to do whilst at home.

So there we have it. We’re blown away by some of the efforts we’ve seen in recent weeks. Truth is, we’re all thinking-up ways to pivot our marketing strategy right now. But we must all be sensitive to what’s happened. Stay tuned for more inspiration during COVID-19.


Eve Rouse

Eve joined us in 2019 and has been distilling our team's technical knowledge into digestable content ever since. Aside from writing, Eve's also interested in comms, R&B music, EQ and human behavior.

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