Viral by association—some beer-drinkers won’t buy Corona now

by | Mar 3, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

New research from 5W Public Relations showcases how brands can go the wrong kind of viral. As fear of the coronavirus sweeps the nation, one similarly-named beer brand is suffering from sheer name association.

The firm’s new survey of American beer drinkers examined their opinions about the popular Mexican beer brand, Corona, as a result of the deadly coronavirus that’s spreading around the world. According to trends data provider SEMrush and multiple media reports, there has been a consistent uptick in searches for “corona beer virus” and “beer coronavirus” over the past few weeks.

The survey found that:

  • 38 percent of beer-drinking Americans would not buy Corona under any circumstances now
  • Among those who said they usually drink Corona, only 4 percent said they would stop drinking Corona, but 14 percent said they wouldn’t order Corona in a public venue
  • 16 percent of beer drinking Americans were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus

Corona beer superimposed over virus image

Source: Consequenceofsound.net

“There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus. Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying “Hey, can I have a Corona?” or “Pass me A Corona,” said Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO of 5WPR, in a news release. “While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?”

YouGov’s buzz score reported that Corona beer’s buzz score—a net score based on whether U.S. adults have heard anything negative or positive about the brand—decreased among those who have an opinion of the brand, from a high score of 75 at the beginning of January to 51 as of late February, 2020.

5WPR surveyed 737 American beer drinkers over the age of 21 on February 25 & 26, 2020.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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