Dampening COVID-19’s Effects with AB InBev and Hyundai

April 27, 2020

By Morgan Strawn


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.


AB InBev Makes Hooch into Hand Sanitizer

In the midst of our global pandemic, conscientious brands are looking for ways to combat COVID-19 and its effects. In some cases, these brands have to think outside the box to make their contributions. Take, for instance, the work of Anheuser-Busch InBev. After recognizing that hand sanitizer was much needed but in suddenly short supply, the company realized that it had the means to help remedy the shortage. Turning to its business lines that produced certain non-alcoholic products, it discovered a way to repurpose the alcohol that was taken out of, say, non-alcoholic beer and turn it into disinfectant. The brand explained that it was producing sanitizer and disinfectant alcohol liquid “not for purchase or resale,” but for “hospitals and frontline workers in some of the most impacted areas.”

Repurposing alcohol in this fashion is not a matter of merely flipping a switch at the factory. Just one of the additional processes that must typically take place is the “denaturing” of the alcohol to ensure that it cannot be consumed by humans for recreational purposes. The result of all this ingenuity will ultimately be over one million bottles of hand sanitizer. In a statement, the company applauded the efforts of the employees who made the project possible: “We are proud of the resilience, commitment, and agility of our teams that made these initiatives happen and honored to be part of the solution.”

AB InBev is not alone in such work. Bacardi, Diageo, Jack Daniel’s-maker Brown-Forman, and others have undertaken similar efforts to donate or sell at cost the alcohol needed to produce sanitizer, amounting to an industry-wide effort.

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Hyundai Cuts Car Payments for the Unemployed

Some brands like AB InBev are contributing to the fight against the pandemic by working to minimize negative health effects; others, though, are working to dampen the negative economic effects that the virus may have on consumers. Hyundai, for instance, is working to provide its customers with a financial safety net by re-instating the Hyundai Assurance plan. In a television ad that has been replacing all of its other TV spots, the brand states: “Nothing is more important than family, especially in uncertain times. In response to the recent world events, we’re taking steps to protect our family with Hyundai Assurance. When you buy or lease a new Hyundai between now and April 30, we’ll cut your payments for up to six months in the event you lose your job this year as a result of COVID-19.”

The plan was originally conceived in January 2009 as a response to the financial crisis that was affecting Americans at that time. As car buyers face another time of economic instability and hardship, the program is being resurrected to give Hyundai customers help when they need it.

Other car brands are also tailoring their customer support to the needs of the moment. In recent ad, Cadillac offered flexible payment arrangements to car buyers and extended OnStar Crisis Assist to all Cadillac owners. Buick and GMC also extended their crisis assist services to owners and offered those in the market for a car special financing and deferred payments.

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

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