Keeping in touch
The pandemic is forcing brand marketers to get creative in their efforts to maintain contact with locked-down consumers. From cocktail delivery to colouring books, Covid-19 has spurred some of travel retail’s biggest players to new heights of ingenuity.

Bars and restaurants are big business for drinks brands, representing a third of total alcohol sales in some countries but also providing a key touchpoint with consumers. Liquor groups are thus keen to support a sector starved of footfall and to maintain the relationship with drinkers. Bacardi has linked with food-delivery service Deliveroo in the UK to enable 120 bars in Manchester and London to send professionally-made cocktails directly to consumers’ homes. The initiative is part of a wider plan, #RaiseYourSpirits, to assist bars and bar staff affected by the coronavirus. Diageo North America’s #TipsFromHome programme, which includes generous donations to organisations helping the hospitality industry, features online cocktail-making tutorials from bartenders across the country. Anyone sharing a cocktail image using the programme’s hashtag triggers a $1 donation by Diageo to the US Bartenders’ Guild.


Luxury leader LVMH is using its brands’ social media presence to take followers on a series of virtual escapades. They can travel back in time though the work of French photographer Jean Larivière, courtesy of Louis Vuitton, or enjoy Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa’s chair-shaped suitcase for Rimowa, a reminder that we can still travel digitally when sitting at home, while the Fondation Louis Vuitton is hosting an online series of exhibitions and cultural events.

Fellow luxury brand Burberry has a new augmented-reality tool allowing shoppers to view their products in real-life settings, simulating an instore experience. Gucci meanwhile is engaging its customers through an app that, among other functions, enables them to virtually try on its sneakers, eyewear or beauty products. And to promote its children’s range, Gucci has published a digital picture book that kids can colour in. Another children’s favourite, Lego, has produced a short film urging British youngsters to be heroes by staying at home over Easter and reducing transmission of the virus.


In similarly playful vein, Christian Dior is offering two ways to escape lockdown tedium: a memory game featuring product photography by Brigitte Niedermayr where players can create their own playing cards from online templates, or a virtual visit of the brand's Parisian flagship store.