GLOBAL March 2020
 
Corona Beer suffers from being closely associated with Coronavirus
 
In March, Corona Beer has released a statement that reveals the impact of mistakenly associating its ‘Corona’ brand with the fatal coronavirus. Earlier its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev reported that Google had shown that ‘panicky’ consumers have drawn parallels between COVID19 coronavirus with its beer brand ‘Corona’, and this has severely affected the sales volume for Corona beer.
Corona beer brand has suffered from the onslaught of internet users who refused to be associated with any brand name close to coronavirus. Interestingly, a US-based survey conducted by 5W Public Relations showed that 38% of beer drinkers would not buy Corona beer as the deadly virus spreads across the globe.
Corona beer brand has come out defending its reputation, but 5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian said, “There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus.” COVID19 coronavirus has taken more than 10,000 lives and with it, the name coronavirus or anything close to it, is nothing more but instill fear and anger among consumers.
Anheuser-Busch InBev was expecting strong sales during the Chinese lunar new year, unfortunately the epidemic has cost it an estimated more than Euro 250 million (US$269 million) in losses in the first 2 months of 2020 alone. Its CEO Carlos Brito attributes this expected losses of 10% in profits for the 1st quarter 2020 mainly to the lack of nightlife/bar clubbing in China.
China is an important market as it comprises about 9% of Anheuser-Busch InBev's estimated US$55 billion in annual sales.
As the coronavirus now spreads beyond China borders to ASEAN, Europe and the Americas, perhaps Anheuser-Busch InBev could seriously consider options of renaming the brand or engage a full-scale brand awareness campaign to clear its image.
One can only ponder even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, whether global consumers would still want to associate themselves with drinking a brand that is named so close to a fatal outbreak that would have killed ‘so and so’ number of people !
 
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