Deep Dive: Corona

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Replacing the Pandemic with Paradise

Yesterday, Corona revealed its very own branded island experience promoting the company’s sustainability efforts. The eco-conscious getaway is developed by Anheuser Busch InBev which markets beer outside the U.S. The island, called Corona Island, is located in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to open in the late spring of 2022. The company is striving to achieve a “Blue Verified” mark from NGO Oceanic Global that indicates the tracking of factors such as the elimination of single-use plastic and the implementation of responsible waste management infrastructure. Interestingly enough, Corona is limiting the attendance to their island experience and will seek out guests through an enter-to-win mechanism tailored to different countries. An auction hosted by CharityBuzz for Giving Tuesday will award one grand prize winner and nine guests with an all-expenses-paid, week-long private island stay next year while the proceeds from the auction benefit Oceanic Global.

This is a huge marketing endeavor that probably cost the business millions of dollars if not more. But the company is trying their very best to tie the return of experiential marketing to its longstanding mission and value of sustainability. The concept of the branded island stems from Corona’s previous advertising messages where relaxation at the beach is a consistent theme and reinforces other sustainability initiatives from the company such as its claim to be the first global beverage brand to achieve a net-zero plastic footprint and has also begun to transform their brands packaging design as well. The island getaway is stated to feature constructions made of 100% natural materials aiming to decrease their environmental impact. Thus, Corona’s actions and goal to be the first fully Blue Verified Island demonstrates how seriously they take their claim of sustainability. However, the first thing that comes to my mind about this paradise getaway is what assurances the company is giving its contestants and potential winners that what they claim is true. How do contestants know their expectations for the island will be met? I would hate for this to become like the unfortunate disaster that was Fyre Festival in 2017, where guests to the private island expected grand accommodations but were met with a harsher reality instead. I think it would be smart for Corona to include more promo videos on the actual features of the island and its constructions so that contestants have a realistic expectation and assurance of the event. This is extremely important as many consumers have not traveled since the beginning of the pandemic and may be hesitant without concrete reassurances that the company is taking necessary safety precautions as well. This would also help combat any greenwashing and dispel misrepresentations that may be associated with the company or event.

Nevertheless, Corona has recognized that customers have pent-up travel demand, but remain wary of vacationing with large crowds as the pandemic continues. Therefore the company is offering to grant the winner of the charity auction and their guests the entire island to themselves for a week, with each visitor receiving a private bungalow. Corona is also planning a variety of activities that would promote conscious consumption once the island is open to visitors, including workshops on limited plastic use and guided meditations. Other aspects of the getaway experience like the culinary programming will take inspiration from the local’s culture and surroundings. The global vice president for Corona stated that the island was unlike anything they’ve ever done before and aims to help people safely reconnect with the outdoors while also educating guests on responsible tourism that will re-energize guests to be better global citizens in their communities and fall in love with nature again.