Disney’s Worldwide Reaction to COVID-19 and Etsy’s Army of Mask-Makers

April 14, 2020

By Michael Berberich

Westermann Creative/Shutterstock.com

Marketing Maestros is providing weekly coverage of how various brands are responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak and relevant resources from the ANA's Marketing Knowledge Center to help your brand do the same.


Disney’s COVID-19 Response as Varied as Brand’s Properties

As of March 15, Disney Parks around the world were closed indefinitely in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The closings left thousands of would-be vacationers understandably distraught, so Disney immediately engaged its customers, waiving monthly fees for annual passholders until the park reopened, and extending any existing tickets for the length of time the parks stay closed.

In addition to taking care of its customers, Disney donated more than 270 tons of excess food inventory to area food banks and gave 150,000 ponchos to humanitarian aid organization MedShare. Nurses across the U.S. have been using rain ponchos to protect their clothing and prolong the use of personal protective equipment, thus serving as inspiration for this donation.

Meanwhile on Disney+, the brand gave consumers stuck at home in isolation something to celebrate: early digital releases of Frozen 2 and Pixar’s Onward, as well as a “virtual viewing” of Disneyland Park’s “Magic Happens” parade. Continuing on the theme of enjoying some Disney “magic” at home, a recent post on the Park’s blog gave Disney’s recipe for its famous churros available throughout its properties.

It also doesn’t hurt that the brand’s millions of fans have gotten in on the act, creating at-home Disney experiences of their own. The “Virtual Disney World” YouTube channel, which started in 2016 and allows viewers to virtually experience their favorite park rides, has seen a sudden spike in traffic, likely from those who are currently missing their planned vacations. Others, such as Lindsay Watts Brightman, created an entire Disney vacation for her family from the comfort of her home.

Marketing Resources:

  • The Marketer’s Guide to Coronavirus Response. The ANA’s Ask the Expert Research service is keeping members up to speed on the latest developments in how COVID-19 has affected the industry, and what brands are doing in response.
  • Virtual Reality: Create a Digital World with Real-World Impact. ANA Marketing Futures is dedicated to helping marketers understand and apply the trends and technology that are reshaping the industry. The road for the “Virtual Reality Boom” rumored for years may finally be paved; learn how brands are already immersing consumers in VR experiences and what you can do to get started.
  • Driving Brand Love in a World of Brand Purpose. Step-by-step actions for building a strong purpose that resonates throughout an organization and creates brand preference and competitive advantage among today’s modern consumers.


Etsy Mobilizes its Community of Makers for Good

From organizations with a quarter-million employees to those with under 1,000, everyone is pitching in to help during the crisis. On Friday April 3, e-commerce marketplace Etsy reached out to its eclectic army of 2.5 million makers and sellers with a call to action. After the CDC recommended U.S. citizens wear cloth masks when they go outside as a protective measure against the novel coronavirus, Etsy asked all who could to shift their focus to the production of cloth masks, offering guidelines for those who were interested. Within the first week, 20,000 sellers had reported selling at least one cloth mask, with CEO Josh Silverman noting that the brand’s community of DIY creatives “are able to produce hundreds of thousands of masks per day.”

Silverman also stressed that these cloth masks would not prevent people from contracting COVID-19 but their use was suggested specifically by the CDC. “It’s an additive measure. It’s not preventive,” he said. In addition to providing a much-needed product to consumers (while not taking away medical-grade masks desperately needed by health care workers), the mask-making efforts were a lifeline for Etsy sellers who were experiencing a decline in demand of other products, such as wedding dresses and party supplies.

Marketing Resources:

  • ANA Marketing Futures: Direct-to-Consumer. D2C brands innovate at a rapid pace and excel at creating seamless experiences for consumers. At a time when shopping preferences and expectations are swiftly changing, D2C emphasizes satisfying consumer needs.
  • Brands Doing Good Series: Darn Good Yarn. By making yarn from discarded silk used to make saris and employing impoverished villagers in Nepal and India, Darn Good Yarn has achieved a social-purpose trifecta: repurposing waste, improving the livelihoods of struggling families in developing nations, and making a profit.
  • What the Future of Retail Marketing Has in Store. How will shopping change in the future? Despite the increasing clout of social media and digital marketing, physical retail stores aren't a thing of the past but a vital window into how marketing will be practiced in the future.

See what you may have missed from previous weeks:

How is your brand adapting to the pandemic? Share in the comments.

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