Corona Beer Virus – The rise of the Memes

For its really 100 year history the Corona beer brand has grown from a retail pilsner to a worldwide juggernaut. Recently the brand has run into some challenges. Corona is dealing with something much more serious. Sharing its name with a global pandemic. In this article, we will look into how the Coronavirus has impacted Corona the beer. And if the brand itself can even survive.

To learn more about the history of Corona check our Corona Beer – The History of Mexican Beer.

In the beginning

A computer model of coronavirus

Ever since March 2020 the Western World has been adjusting to the reality of social distancing. In stark contrast with the rest of the market, stores were well stocked with Corona beer. In January 2020 when Coronavirus was beginning to hit every major network around the world. Citizens of the internet began to search about corona the virus.

A single beer brand is not responsible for a global pandemic. Corona means the crown in Spanish. Hence the crown of the label of the beer. But in English, the word Corona is much more a technical one. In anatomy, Corona can refer to a part of the body resembling a crown. Or in astronomy, the sun and other stars have a hot envelope of gas surrounding them that is referred to as their corona.

But aside from these couple of technical terms the word Corona is not used in most everyday conversations. If you do hear it in the English-speaking world it’s pretty safe to bet that they’re referring to the beer.

The connection was born

Corona beer and the corona virus memes

So when the scientists named the virus for its halo of crown-like spikes on its surface the unconscious connection between Corona beer and Coronavirus was born. While this connection began showing itself in January 2020 Corona themselves added a little bit of fuel to the fire in February.

In probably one of the most poorly timed marketing campaigns Corona debuted a new social media ad to announce its Seltzer Brand. It read Coming ashore soon with pictures of the new Corona Seltzer can.

The irony of the slogan was pretty obvious. Corona did acknowledge that the campaigner was mistimed.

An advertising ad for a Corona Seltzer with four cans of Seltzer on a beach shore.

A series of missteps

The ad was very consistent with their previous Find your Beach branding they have been using for decades. Unfortunately for the Modelo group just as this misstep was starting to blow ever every major news outlet ran with the survey that said that 38% of beer drinkers wouldn’t drink Corona because of the Corona virus.

Of course, like most things reported in the corporate press this claim was not entirely accurate. The brand claimed consumers understood that there isn’t a link between the beer and the virus. But like so many times before the internet was content to joke about the exact opposite.

The good news for Corona is that the future doesn’t seem all that terrible. Although they did have to shut down production due to non-essential business closures in Mexico. Group of Modelo has Corona back up and running. More people than ever are drinking at home which is a big advantage for beer brands like Corona that rely on bottled over draft sales. If the brand can avoid more missteps with its marketing the future of Corona should be good. Cheers.

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