The president and CEO of Corona beer’s U.S. owner has defended the brand’s sales and reputation following backlash on social media for a Corona Hard Seltzer ad amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Last Monday, the Grupo Modelo beer brand was criticized on Twitter for describing its new seltzer as “coming ashore soon” in an ad posted to the social media platform by Corona’s official U.S. account. In an image included in the now-deleted tweet, four cans of the hard seltzer were positioned on a sandy beach before the ocean, Ad Age reports.
"OK I get that this crisis can't be good for them, but maybe change the ad campaign," one user said.
Last week, NYC-based public relations firm 5WPR published the results of a very small survey that claimed that 38 percent of 737 Americans polled said they would not purchase Corona beer "under any circumstances now" amid the ongoing outbreak — even though the coronavirus has nothing to do with the pale lager.
In reply, Bill Newlands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands, Corona’s owner in the US, fired back at the attacks in a Friday statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible virus and we hope efforts to more fully contain it gain traction soon,” Newlands said of the COVID-19 outbreak. “It’s extremely unfortunate that recent misinformation about the impact of this virus on our business has been circulating in traditional and social media without further investigation or validation.”
“These claims simply do not reflect our business performance and consumer sentiment, which includes feedback from our distributor and retailer partners across the country. We’ve seen no impact to our people, facilities or operations and our business continues to perform very well,” he argued.
“Unlike many of our competitors, sales of our beer brands are focused almost entirely on the U.S. market. Our company does not have much exposure to international markets such as China that have been most impacted by this situation,” Newlands continued. “I’m extremely proud of the efforts of our team. We’ve built good momentum as we gear up for the upcoming summer selling season.”
Despite the controversy over its recent tweet, brand officials at Corona USA will continue moving forward with a “marketing push” for Corona Hard Seltzer, CNBC reports. According to the outlet, a TV ad for Corona Hard Seltzer has already hit airwaves, though the spot allegedly doesn’t include the “coming ashore” spin.