The Really Brief — Week of March 23

March 26

Budweiser has released an ad that explains how the brewer is moving its “sports investments” to help fight COVID.

The ad, called “One Team,” opens on an empty stadium and empty streets, then moves to photos of people working on the front lines to fight COVID. “This Bud is for the Blues,” says the narrator over a photo of a health care worker in blue scrubs, “and the Reds,” he says over a shot of a Red Cross worker.

The spot shows a series of images of both front-line workers and people at home, likening them to sports team nicknames like the Warriors, the Magic, the Giants and the Trailblazers. It closes with “This Bud’s for the home team,” reminding people that they too are doing their part by staying home. “This season, we’re all One Team.”

As part of a $5 million donation to the American Red Cross, Budweiser will also host blood drives at stadiums left quiet during the crisis.

Hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer struck a similar note with its announcement that it would shift production from hockey helmet visors to those that could be used to protect people dealing with COVID.

“Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage,” Bauer tweeted out Wednesday. “Right now, we’re all on the same team. We’re repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable.”

“We say we’re a protective company.… Then why aren’t we starting to [make] protection for our doctors, nurses, hospitals, and their needs?” Bauer’s vice-president of product innovation, Dan Bourgeois, told the CBC. The company will try to make 2,000 units daily.

Knix Wear founder Joanna Griffiths has started a GoFundMe to help raise money to buy more personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line health care workers. “Last week my brother Chris, who is a doctor at a major Canadian hospital, reached out asking if Knix could help get access to PPE as his hospital was likely going to run out,” she explained.

Knix will use donations to directly purchase masks, gowns and gloves at cost from two of its manufacturing partners in China, which also own factories to produce PPE. Knix will cover all shipping and distribution costs to get the equipment into hospitals.

Meanwhile, some adult industry businesses are also doing their part. PornHub is offering one-month free access to its Premium content, while the San Francisco gentlemen’s club Gold Club, has partnered with to give men another reason to stay home—free access to its virtual strip club.

With hospitals across the country preparing for a surge in COVID patients, Canada Goose announced that it will help by making much needed medical scrubs and gowns at two of its manufacturing facilities. Production will start early next week, with approximately 50 employees producing 10,000 units.

“Across Canada, there are people risking their lives every day on the frontlines of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities, and they need help,” said Dani Reiss, president & CEO, Canada Goose. “Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good.”

Bars and restaurants were some of the first to be forced to shut down in communities across North America. Super-marketer Ryan Reynolds wants to help their employees by donating 30% of sales from every bottle of Aviation Gin sold online as tips for out-of-work bartenders. “We really miss you btw,” tweeted Reynolds.

“We’re available at home—where we hope you are right now—but your bartenders miss you,” says the Aviation website. “So we’ve started a tab by donating $15K to the United States Bartender’s Guild and will be adding an additional 30% tip for every bottle delivered through May 1st.”

Toronto-based media company MaxTV Media is offering free ad space to restaurants and bars on its 1,700 digital screens in condominiums during the COVID crisis.

“Many restaurants may have been struggling before the crisis, but now they are being forced to layoff staff and close their doors for everything but delivery and pickup to be responsible business owners,” said Erik Kehat, CEO of MaxTV Media. “Spending on new marketing campaigns is simply not an option for these businesses right now. We wanted to step up and help them reach local customers in a new way to keep sales coming in.”

With grocery stores experiencing a surge in sales as concerned Canadians stock up, the country’s largest players have been giving employees unplanned raises while also introducing new measures to protect staff who are being asked to keep working during the COVID crisis.

Metro also announced on Wednesday that it will donate $1 million to help alleviate food insecurity, and will help with elder care and mental health support. That includes $500,000 to Feed Ontario and Food Banks of Québec, and another $500,000 to the emergency fund of Centraide/ United Way.


David Brown