Padilla’s Insights + Strategy and Digital/Social teams scanned the news media and social media conversations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to bring you the week’s noteworthy developments:

The Unofficial Start of Summer

The Memorial Day weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S., meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence. To that, discussion around states reopening shifted as they approached the country’s first warm-weather holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the global conversation – which hasn’t been prominent in recent weeks – focused on news that the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that South America has become the new epicenter of the pandemic.

In the social sphere, “State” became prominent in the word cloud, as individuals expressed frustration about how their states were handling the coronavirus. 

Fake News

New research from Carnegie Mellon found that bots may account for between 45-60% of Twitter accounts discussing COVID-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.

Brand Responses
Brands are moving into more engagement  and – while still tactical and mission/purpose driven – they also are finding more creative/original ways to connect with people’s new normal. Examples include the following:

  • L’Oréal USA is working with Snap to create eight branded beauty lenses. The brand created makeup, hair, and fragrance-themed lenses.
  • M&M’s is crowdsourcing its next TV spot via a virtual coloring book.
  • The Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL team to work with Snapchat by using an AR lens to reveal its new uniforms. 
  • Fortnite will morph into a virtual movie theater to host a showing of an unnamed Christopher Nolan movie. 

Topic Mapping

Overall, COVID-19 news continues to show a cadence of decline over the weekend. However, politics continues to be intertwined throughout the top five COVID-19 topics: local cases, general news, relief, recovery plans (businesses and states), and reopening.

As retailers open up, individuals are going to Twitter to voice their fears about visiting stores again. While in mid-April consumers were sharing that they miss shopping, as the pandemic continues, they are missing the in-store experience less and less. This shows we’re becoming more and more comfortable with some parts of the #NewNormal.

For more insights on this week’s coronavirus communications analysis:

For questions, guidance or support with your brand’s communications efforts, Padilla’s COVID-19 Response Team is here to help.