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:


With more cities slowly reopening, this week’s big data trend shows that traffic in the U.S. and other countries has nearly doubled in the past three weeks (it had been down up to 72%) via Apple’s Mobility Trends report.

About seven-in-10 Americans (71%) say they need to take breaks from news about the coronavirus, and 43% say the news leaves them feeling worse emotionally. Additionally, the pandemic has driven interest in uplifting headlines way – way up.

In just three weeks of digital release, “Trolls” sequel made more money for Universal Pictures than the original did during five months in theaters.

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 while evolving to be more bespoke to their specific brand:

  • In a sea of confusingly vague “we’re here for you” messages, Heinz found a more brand-appropriate way of showing it, pledging $1 million worth of grants to the (now-struggling) local diners where their ketchup bottles became iconic mainstays.
  • Mattel released a figurine collection dubbed #ThankYouHeroes. All net proceeds from the line will go to #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative supporting front line workers.

Social Buzz

Overall, social buzz continues its downward trend, with notable dips during the weekends. Positive sentiment declined slightly while negative sentiment increased. Negative sentiment was driven by the topics of the Trump Administration and more specific conversations of county cases, along with the continuing rise of unemployment numbers.

Trending topics include:

  • Vice President Pence not wearing a mask during his visit to the Mayo Clinic
  • News that the State of Florida is not releasing all coronavirus death statistics
  • Reporting that the White House will block Dr. Fauci from testifying in front of Congress

Besides searching for “drive-by graduation ideas” and “virtual prom,” people Googled “peanut butter bread” and “gardening” most often – hitting all-time highs globally.

Return To Work

The Return-to-Work conversation is beginning to occupy a greater share of mind for leaders and employees alike. The most dominant part of that discussion remains ensuring the health and safety of the workforce, but additional questions and concerns are percolating around identifying and training for the right skill sets, respecting work-life balance and tempering optimism with financial realities.  

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

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