How Canadian Brands are Responding

We are living in truly unprecedented times. Like many other things that seemed important only a few weeks back, marketing has been reduced to a blip in our overall psyche in comparison to the massive impact of COVID-19 on all of our lives. But as small as it seems in the grand scheme, brands and businesses have an important role to play in a human event like this one. Below are just a few of the many ways Canadian businesses are responding to the health emergency by adding--or in some cases even giving away--their products and services.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be donating their special St. Patrick’s jerseys to frontline healthcare workers and first responders, something they are doing for those that put others first.  The special jerseys were supposed to be worn during two March games.

Who can’t use a free cup of coffee right now? Tim Horton’s is visiting hospitals all over the city to provide free coffee to all frontline healthcare workers.

Bell and Rogers have waived fees for residential customers who go over their monthly bandwidth, something a lot of households will do with all the streaming that’s bound to increase as social distancing continues.  Several premium channels have also been made free to encourage people to stay home.

Spirit of York Distillery Co. is known for its vodka and gins, however, pivoted quickly to use their manufacturing process and ingredients to produce something that is experiencing a significant shortage across Canada: hand sanitizers.  They will be priced at $2.95, with proceeds going to local food banks, and will be given away for no charge to seniors and those who can’t afford it.

Miami, FL – January 30, 2020: Ritesh Shah, VP, Northeast & GM, Canada, Brand Innovators during Brand Innovators Brands & Fans at Burger King Headquarters.

Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers is also chipping in to make hand sanitizers in alcohol bottles to be donated to hospitals and healthcare workers for no charge.

Edmonton’s Glass Bookshop is delivering books to those that are either in quarantine or have chosen to self-isolate and Underground Tap and Grill is giving away free meals to healthcare workers in recognition for long shifts in fighting the virus.

Many retailers including Canadian Tire have created designated hours for seniors to do their shopping to reduce exposure to larger crowds & Loblaws stores have eliminated pickup fees for their online grocery delivery service in addition to designated seniors hours.

One last cool story I heard: more than 200 medical students have signed up to babysit kids for parents who are frontline healthcare workers working long shifts and need someone to watch their children. They are also delivering groceries and medications to those who cannot leave their home for whatever reason.

It’s not all bad out there.

Ritesh Shah is VP-Northeast and GM-Canada for Brand Innovators

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