The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has prompted changes in many industries, including marketing and advertising. Many enterprises have embarked upon means of coping with the pandemic through the prism of corporate social responsibility (Marom and Lussier, 2020). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coca-Cola announced it would stop advertising campaigns to support its brand name worldwide beginning in April and until further notice. The question lies in what the brand stands to gain by continuing their socially responsible marketing during the pandemic to non-crisis context.
In the 21st century, as the advertising market keeps fluctuating, Coca-Cola ensures the continuation of its brand value through a close relationship with its customers and its shareholders, with an increased focus on environmental responsibility (Gehani, 2016). As corporate brand value is one of the most strategic brand assets that a firm can have, Coca-Cola’s efforts can be seen as an example of an attempt to retain customer loyalty by aligning with current values (Gehani, 2016). In this way, a strategy adopted during the pandemic can continue to bring results well into the future.
Some studies argue that Covid-19 has provided a chance for businesses to employ more genuine corporate social responsibility and align with increasingly ethical consumer decision-making (He and Harris, 2020). Others suggest that the global drop in ad and marketing spending is prompted solely by the economic consequences of Covid-19 (Jiménez-Sánchez, 2020). Regardless, Coca-Cola’s pledge allows them to superficially fit their brand values to the ‘new normal’ of ethical consumerism (Marom and Lussier, 2020, p. 250). Their socially responsible marketing will allow the brand to fit into the fast-expanding narrative of ‘green marketing’ and retain loyal customers, both throughout the pandemic and beyond (Nadanyiova, Gajanova, and Majerova, 2020, p. 7118). Regardless of the true intention behind the announcement, Coca-Cola stands to benefit from its new advertising strategy.
Gehani, R. R. (2016) ‘Corporate Brand Value Shifting from Identity to Innovation Capability: from Coca-Cola to Apple’, Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 11(3), pp. 11-20.
He, H. and Harris, L. (2020) ‘The impact of Covid-19 pandemic on corporate social responsibility and marketing philosophy’, Journal of Business Research, 116(1), pp.176-182.
Jiménez-Sánchez, A., Margalina, V. and Vayas-Ruiz, E. (2020) ‘Governmental Communication and Brand Advertising During the COVID-19 Pandemic’, Communication in COVID-19 Crisis, 47(2), pp. 29-46.
Marom, S. and Lussier, R.N. (2020) ‘Corporate social responsibility during the coronavirus pandemic: An interim overview’, Business and Economic Research, 10(2), p. 250.
Nadanyiova, M., Gajanova, L. and Majerova, J. (2020) ‘Green Marketing as a Part of the Socially Responsible Brand’s Communication from the Aspect of Generational Stratification’, Sustainability, 12(17), p. 7118.