Some Americans aren't buying Corona beer due to coronavirus, survey finds
Corona beer isn't making any changes to its advertising despite the name's unfortunate similarity to the deadly coronavirus.
Constellation Brands, which brews several variations of the popular lager, said in a statement that its customers "understand there is no link between the virus and our business."
The spread of the coronavirus couldn't have come at a worse time for Constellation, which is spending $40 million to launch its new Corona-branded hard seltzer. Part of the promotion includes a sponsored tweet that has sparked criticism for using the phrase "coming ashore soon."
Replies to the tweet say the ad is in "poor taste" and that the brand should "lay low for a few weeks."
Two surveys released this week show that the Corona's brand is suffering from negative buzz.
5W Public Relations said that 38% of Americans wouldn't buy Corona "under any circumstances" because of the outbreak, and another 14% said they wouldn't order a Corona in public. The survey encompasses polling from 737 beer drinkers in the United States.
According to SEMrush, a trends data provider, and multiple media reports, there has been a consistent uptick in searches for "corona beer virus" and "beer coronavirus" over the past few weeks.
The survey by 5WPR also found that 16% of beer-drinking Americans were confused about whether Corona beer is related to the coronavirus.
"There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus. Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying, "Hey, can I have a Corona?" or "Pass me A Corona," said Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO of 5WPR. "While the brand has claimed that consumers understand there's no linkage between the virus and the beer company, this is a disaster for the Corona brand. After all, what brand wants to be linked to a virus which is killing people worldwide?"
YouGov's buzz score reported that Corona beer's buzz score — a net score based on whether U.S. adults have heard anything negative or positive about the brand — decreased among those who have an opinion of the brand, from a high score of 75 at the beginning of January to 51 as of late February.
In another survey conducted by YouGov, the firm found consumers' intent to purchase Corona fell to its lowest level in two years. The survey also showed that Corona's buzz score, a metric that that measures favorability, has dropped significantly since the beginning of the year.
Online searches for "corona beer virus" spiked in early February, but have since declined.
Constellation Brands' stock dropped 8% on Thursday, although the entire stock market has fallen sharply as fear grows about the spread of coronavirus. The number of cases have climbed to 83,577 globally Friday. Nearly 3,000 people have died from the virus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.