How the Coronavirus has affected the Corona Brand and beer sales

3rd Mar 2020

In February of 2020, there were several news outlets which reported a £132,000,000 loss for Corona Beer as a result of the Coronavirus. Although this news has been somewhat twisted, there is some truth to the statement. 

So are Corona Beer sales down? Well, Corona, along with some other brewing giants, including the likes of Budweiser and Stella Artois, forecast that the first-quarter earnings will fall between 5% and 10% after the virus outbreak. The confusion was that consumers weren’t purchasing the beer due to the brand name ‘Corona’. Despite the similar name, the actual reason for this drop in sales is because of China blocking imports and exports. Hence, affecting the sales for the likes of Stella and Budweiser just as much as it did Corona.

Though the analogy that “people are so dumb that they think the Corona beer and Coronavirus are connected” was too tempting for various news outlets to avoid talking about, despite there being little to no evidence which supports that statement. Many of them even suggesting people were scared of the brand ‘Corona’. Due to mistaken associations between the name of the brand and a virus.

So what implications does this have for Corona (The brand not the virus), well put simply, any PR is good PR. There is an opportunity to thrive on the confusion of their consumers. These news outlets are providing a platform for Corona to create a flawless marketing campaign. 

Making light of the situation

An exceptional example of this was in February of 2019 when KFC quite literally ‘ran out of chicken.’ They created a whole marketing campaign which changed the ‘KFC’ name to ‘FCK’, with the caption ‘A chicken shop without any chicken. It’s not ideal.’ I mean, come on, how brilliant is that. The advertisement and news of lack of chicken were in the media for weeks and weeks. Instead of cowering behind close doors, KFC went all out and admitted there mistake by making light of the situation. There was likely a surplus of traffic to their website and social media due to this whole incident. A perfect marketing venture made from a not so ideal situation.

KFC - A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal.

Similarly to the stunt, KFC pulled when they ran out of Kentucky Fried Chicken; Corona could do something similar. Right now if you look at Google Trends, the search term for ‘corona beer virus’, has seen a considerable rise. See figure below. There are a massive amount of people searching about Corona. A prime place to target your consumers. Why not build a marketing campaign out of a not so ideal situation.

Google trends for Corona beer virus

The actual implication for Corona.

From what I have read – I can’t see there being many implications for Corona other than Chinas imports and exports. And that goes much further than just the Corona brand. There are hundreds of companies experiencing the same problem. It just happens to be that Corona shares the same name as the virus.

The fundamental importance is to make light of any situation. These news outlets provide us with a platform to engage our consumers and customers. In a not so ideal situation, use that platform to drive traffic to where you want it, whether it be social media or your website. Make a marketing campaign out of it. Drive traffic to the right places. ‘A chicken shop without any chicken. It’s not ideal.’ – I’ll leave you with that statement.