Brands Doing Their Best in Light of COVID-19: Part 01
Craig White | Director
As mother nature sends us a message and we all retreat and wait in isolation, fixated on news, stories and the next government support package, we are slowly questioning a future draconian world of state control and communist ideals. But, amidst all the doom and gloom, there’s a number of free and independent businesses and brands stepping up in a time of global and humanitarian need.
We believe brands have the market freedom and power to change the world for the better, to create meaningful moments and tangible belongings that aid us all to be better people and support humanity as a whole. Now, more than ever, we can see the good in brands that can help others. Not only for the purpose of brand image and future profits, but to play a meaningful and important part in this story.
At Whiteroom, we’ve come together to compile a list of brands that are bringing a welcome light to the world at the moment. From Zara making scrubs for overwhelmed Spanish hospitals to high end fashion brands turning their craft to hand sanitisers.
Here's who we admire right now:
Perhaps most known for their ‘good fast food’, Leon is bringing a new meaning to the phrase during this crisis. The new campaign called FeedNHS, has seen the restaurant chain bring together restaurants, food distributers and suppliers to deliver free, hot meals to NHS critical care staff each day. Working with Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, they’re set to deliver 5,600 meals each day to 5 of their major hospitals.
That’s not all Leon are doing to help either. They’ve also converted 10 of their 75 UK takeaway outlets to shops, offering a place to purchase much-needed groceries and ready meals, offering NHS staff a 50% discount to boot. And, all profits will be sent straight to the NHS at this time.
Spanish based fashion brand, Zara was forced to close around half of their stores worldwide due to the epidemic. But instead of simply closing and cursing the situation for the loss of revenue, Zara turned their hand to making scrubs and PPE equipment for Spanish hospitals. Converting part of their textile manufacturing capacity for the production of this valuable equipment and opening up their logistics and supplier network to further help, Zara are a shining example of what brands can be doing in such a bleak situation.
Popular fast fashion brand, H&M, faced hard times when they had to close all their stores due to COVID-19, but they’re set to use their sources and skills for good. Altering their supply chain to produce PPE equipment for in need hospitals and care facilities and adapting their global networks to aid in distributing the products are soon as possible; H&M are one of the many brands who refuse to sit on their hands and wait for the virus to roll on by.
Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Versace & Prada
It may surprise you that high-profile, luxury brands such as these are rolling up their sleeves and using their power for good at the moment. LVMH – parent company of Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Dior are transforming their perfume and cosmetic production facilities into hand sanitiser manufacturing centres. All products made will go straight to French Health Authorities – free of charge – for them to distribute across the country’s hospitals.
LVMH aren’t the only luxury brand to be doing some real good though. Donatella and Allegra Versace have donated more than $222,000 to Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital to help during the epidemic. And, the good news doesn’t stop there, because Prada have announced that they’re donating two intensive care and resuscitation units each to Milan Hospitals: Vittore Buzzi, Sacco and San Raffaele.
UK Midlands based sports and nutrition brand, Grenade, popularised for their hit Carb Killa bars, have been busy helping everyone from the NHS to those of us stuck in lockdown. To start, they’ve created care packages for the NHS, encouraging their thousands of social media followers to nominate facilities that have been working tirelessly to receive a free support package. That’s not all either, they’re also offering online workouts, guides on what to eat in isolation, as well as positive thinking podcasts to keep everyone’s spirits up.
For a job that was once looked down upon by the masses and branded as ‘unskilled’, supermarkets and their workers have now become a forefront essential of our society. Thanks to exceptional staff and a determination to keep the nation fed, supermarkets are responding to the challenge and then some.
One chain that’s going above and beyond is Co-op. Initially partnering with Deliveroo to deliver food locally, they’ve also begun a secret trial in a Welsh area, taking orders via a hotline and using local volunteers to deliver food to vulnerable and elderly people. Co-op’s good deeds don’t stop there either, they’re also set to hand £1.5 million to food banks and £4.5 million to other local causes and charities. Tesco have also announced that they’re providing members of staff with a ten per cent bonus in order to help them get through this difficult time.
One of the industries which have taken the greatest battering from the outbreak is the pubs/bars sector. In response to this, Guinness have pledged €1.5 million to support communities affected by COVID-19. With the money they’re aiming to pay a proportion of staff’s wages for bars forced to close and are also offering free training courses for those still working in the drinks trade. With brands such as Guinness looking out for small pubs and bars, they ensure that at the end of all of this, we can have a crisp pint to look forward to and a place to catch up with those we’ve had to be distanced from.
It’s not just tangible things that can offer some good in the world at the moment, but we also need to be entertained to keep our minds from drifting to the negativity in the world. In response to this, Jimmy Fallon’s turned his sights to YouTube and is now doing his shows from his own home. Each episode promotes a charity, encouraging online donations to support the vulnerable. And, there’s usually a star-studded cast that makes an appearance too, all willing to dig deep into their pockets and offer money for those most at need.
Boden have partnered with Helpforce, to donate clothes to NHS workers and recovered patients. They’ve pledged to give nightwear to healthcare staff facing long working hours and sleep-ins, and also give clothes to recovered patients when they leave the hospital. This gesture from Boden is offering those struggling during this time, a little slice of happiness.
Other brands to note
The brands that are currently stepping up to aid with the epidemic spans industries, with businesses across the world pledging their help. Unilever recently unveiled a €500 million emergency package for workers, suppliers and virus control efforts; drugs giant AstraZeneca are teaming up with GSK and the University of Cambridge to open a new lab to increase testing for COVID-19 and Tesla
are aiming to put their tech knowledge to good use and develop ventilators for hospitals.
In a time where there’s so much to worry about, these brands pledging their help and doing the right thing offers us a little glimmer of hope. Not only are they setting the right drumbeat, encouraging others to respond in kind and turn their efforts to the most vulnerable and in need, but they’re also ensuring we have something to come back to and look forward to at the end of all of this.
Now’s the time to pull together and do some real good, and that includes all the little people sat at home too. If each person opens up their world to help just a little bit, whether that’s offering to help out a neighbour with the weekly shop or donating to a charity that’s struggling to make it through; we’ll not only make it through this, but we’ll emerge as a stronger people, united by our struggles and ready to build a better world.