Daily Insights

Corona vs. Coronavirus

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Feb 16, 2021

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, Corona concocts a virtual getaway for homebound consumers.

The brand launched an immersive augmented reality experience with AR technology company Blippar that brings the beach to consumers. The WebAR initiative transports users to a tropical destination where they can receive exclusive Corona Hard Seltzer cocktail recipes, purchase products, and have ingredients delivered to their homes through app Basketful. The experience will run across digital ads and social media channels in more than fifteen US states and can be accessed in stores or at home by scanning a QR code on the Corona Hard Seltzer packaging. There’s also a video capture feature for consumers to share their experiences on social media.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to come to terms with new realities, so too were brands upended by rapidly changing consumer behavior. Most notably, the pandemic has had a strong effect on online alcohol delivery. The closures of bars and restaurants shifted consumer behavior to increased at-home consumption and online purchasing. Though online alcohol sales are just a small sip of overall sales, only accounting for 2% to 3% of total alcohol sales last year, that share has soared to 8%, signaling the importance of being an early player, according to Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Spirits. Alcohol delivery platforms quickly scaled investment to meet growing consumer needs, with leading platforms seeing double- or triple-digit growth in demand. However, many spirits sellers still lag behind the pace of innovation, making Corona’s idea to enhance its advertising with AR and pair up with Basketful a progressive one. It also doesn’t hurt that the drink being promoted, Corona Hard Seltzer, happened to be one of the top-selling alcoholic seltzers of last summer.

But it hasn’t been all beaches and booze for the brand. Corona faced a unique dilemma at the start of the pandemic due to consumer reluctance around the virus and brand’s similar-sounding names, and searches for “corona beer virus” shot up substantially around the world during that time. As such, the label has had to re-jigger its entire marketing strategy and tap into less-typical methods of innovation, like brewing up its own GIPHY library and marketing its entire portfolio of beverages for the first time last September. That said, double-teaming with an AR platform and a delivery app to take consumers on a tropical vacation during one of the bleakest times of the year isn’t just a bright idea, but a necessary one.