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Podcast Episode 53: Marketing Burrito: COVID-19 Messaging Successes

Jeffrey Lambert
Apr 28, 2020 1:29:11 PM

Welcome to the monthly series where we take out the TALK-O tortilla, mix in some marketing meat, and top it off with some newsy guacamole. 

This is your place for marketing news, strategies, and growth all rolled into one!

Episode Transcript:


Jeff Lambert (00:00):

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the monthly series where we take out the taco tortilla, mix in some marketing meat, and top it off with some newsy guacamole. This is your place for marketing news, strategies, and growth, all rolled into one. Welcome to Inbound Academy's marketing burrito.

Rogelio Rodriguez (00:21):

That was awesome.

Jeff Lambert (00:26):

And welcome. Yeah, that was pretty good. I like that. Welcome to the show, everybody. I am your host, Jeff Lambert, and I am joined by the colorful and always entertaining...

Rogelio Rodriguez (00:37):

Rogelio Rodriguez.

Jeff Lambert (00:38):

Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to break down the month's marketing news. And we're going to share some insights into how we can provide growth, and how we can improve as professionals by just keeping our ear to the ground about what's happening in our industry. So, Rod, we're going to be doing this once a month, right?

Rogelio Rodriguez (01:00):

Yes, yes. The marketing burrito. That's going to be super exciting for everybody. Sad for other podcasts that have a similar name because it's going to take over.

Jeff Lambert (01:11):

Yeah, sorry about that. But we have the name sitting in the hopper for a while, so we're going with it. So, folks, in addition to going over marketing news in this episode and doing it once a month, we are going to be releasing a marketing study every month attached to this episode. We're going to ask you to give us feedback on a completely random question none of us will ever use in any other article that we're going to put out. So, we're just going to have a little fun with our industry in terms of marketing studies. This one for this month, we're going to talk about our quarantine foods that you should try, so stick around and we'll talk about that at the end. But hey, let's get right to it, Rod. Let's talk about what are the major stories in marketing this month in April, and of course, we turn our eyes to the coronavirus pandemic. It has taken over our lives, wouldn't you say?

Rogelio Rodriguez (02:02):

Oh, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, everybody's life, so it's forced a lot of brands to make change, marketing change overnight, right? Especially the ones that rely in-person shopping like restaurants, gyms, car dealerships. USA Today has reported the industries hit hardest by the pandemic include gambling, airlines, hotels, movie theaters, live sports, cruises, and retail. So, many brands have been forced to change and to pivot. So, we're going to look at some examples of these brands. One being one of my favorites, they are a Miami native, born in Miami, actually. So, I think I mentioned that in a previous podcast.

Jeff Lambert (02:51):

They're really?

Rogelio Rodriguez (02:51):

Yeah, Burger King.

Jeff Lambert (02:53):

Burger King.

Rogelio Rodriguez (02:54):

Born in Miami.

Jeff Lambert (02:55):

Get out of here.

Rogelio Rodriguez (02:55):

Crazy. Yeah. Raised in the USA.

Jeff Lambert (02:57):

I didn't know that.

Rogelio Rodriguez (02:58):

Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Lambert (02:59):

How do you say burger in Spanish though? Was it like burgerese?

Rogelio Rodriguez (03:01):


Jeff Lambert (03:01):

Hamburguesa Rey.

Rogelio Rodriguez (03:04):

No, Rey Hamburguesa.

Jeff Lambert (03:09):

Rey Hamburguesa. You can tell which one of us is from a Hispanic background and which one of us isn't. All right, Rod. So, you dropped an example. We're talking about businesses pivoting to try and stay afloat to keep sales up during coronavirus. I mean, Google is just littered with articles on, "Hey, do this to be able to pivot successfully." I want to focus more on how brands actually did it, then how you should do it. Because I think you can learn from looking at the winners. So, let's talk about Burger King. What did they do, well, are doing, I should say, because we're still in pandemic mode, but what's one strategy they use that's helping them with sales right now?

Rogelio Rodriguez (03:50):

Sure. So, with schools around the globe closed because of coronavirus and lessons being held online, Burger King said Monday it would reward students who are continuing to study hard through the worldwide pandemic. So, on Monday they are... And it's continuing through April 20th, actually. The fast-food chain says it's going to post a question each day on social media channels, including its Facebook and Instagram pages. The questions will cover different subjects, right? Including math, biology, chemistry, literature. So, students need to enter their answers on the BK app to get a free Whopper sandwich with any purchase.

Jeff Lambert (04:28):

Ooh, okay. So, really, this is a two-pronged attack. They're going after a demographic that has nothing to do right now with just students, especially high school students, right? They're sitting at home. I know they're doing work online. My wife's a teacher, but it's not the same.

Rogelio Rodriguez (04:44):

Right, right. So, they have some extra time. They're not playing sports. They're not doing extracurricular activities. So, with that extra time, Burger King has decided to shift their messaging to the people that are most available. The consumers, really, in a smart way. They've pivoted to appeal to that wide audience, from kids to adults in the past but they're now keyed on a specific section, those that suddenly became the most reachable, which is students. So, if your business-

Jeff Lambert (05:18):

Oh, that's-

Rogelio Rodriguez (05:19):

Go ahead.

Jeff Lambert (05:19):

No, I was going to say, you bring up a good point, Rod. Because Burger King's for everybody, really. If you look at their messaging, you look at their commercials, anything they do, they've got the kids' meals, they've got the... They always do the experimental foods, which is what I love about Burger King, overall. I know I'm going to sound like a fatty, but I'm going to go there. They have these jalapeno cheddar bites that they came out with. They're re-brought out. They are so good. Oh, my Lord.

Rogelio Rodriguez (05:45):

Wow. I've never tried them, but I'll add them to the list of quarantine snacks that I may want to eat.

Jeff Lambert (05:51):

Oh, we show.

Rogelio Rodriguez (05:52):


Jeff Lambert (05:53):

And I just admitted that I'm going out during the quarantine, so.

Rogelio Rodriguez (05:58):

With a mask.

Jeff Lambert (05:59):

Oh, with a mask, definitely.

Rogelio Rodriguez (06:00):


Jeff Lambert (06:00):

Sometimes, you got to just get up for a second, even if it's driving around, you know?

Rogelio Rodriguez (06:06):

Sure, absolutely. I totally understand. But for going back to Burger King, we're thinking about what the main marketing takeaway. In their case, if the business relies on certain demographic that may no longer be available, it's time to adjust messaging to a group who is, and then based on the circumstances now. Don't be rigid in who you're speaking to. Just be adaptable to who's available and who's going to get the most impact as well.

Jeff Lambert (06:36):


Rogelio Rodriguez (06:36):


Jeff Lambert (06:37):

Wise words, Rod, I agree. And Burger King is doing that very well. And they're really leaning into the whole pandemic thing too. I remember reading an article about a week ago. You know how they're Home of the Whopper, like that's one of their slogans for their company?

Rogelio Rodriguez (06:50):


Jeff Lambert (06:51):

They changed it to Stay Home of the Whopper, kind of like-

Rogelio Rodriguez (06:55):

Stay home.

Jeff Lambert (06:55):

Yeah. Self-quarantine, which I thought was brilliant.

Rogelio Rodriguez (06:59):


Jeff Lambert (07:00):

So, I know we always talk about Wendy's when we talk about smart fast-food marketing moves. But kudos to Burger King here, huh?

Rogelio Rodriguez (07:08):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jeff Lambert (07:10):

All right, so that's good. All right, so Burger King number one, great point, Rod, about shifting to the demographic that's available because stuff happens. You got to keep your marketing going and you have to find out who the customer is, and they just keyed in on a portion of the population they were already catering to, but really speaking to them and trying to get them interested in what was going on, or is going on, I should say, so. All right. Example number one, Burger King. Let's talk about another company that is doing it well in terms of pivoting their message for the coronavirus pandemic situation. So, give me another company, Rod.

Rogelio Rodriguez (07:46):

So, Anheuser-Busch, they switched their production to hand sanitizer.

Jeff Lambert (07:54):

Ooh. Wait, no, let's just roll it back for the non-alcoholics in our audience. Anheuser-Busch, who are they?

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:01):

They are a beer company, an American beer producer manufacturer. They own several brands. They're really the parent company who produce Budweiser, Michelob, Rolling Rock, and Busch.

Jeff Lambert (08:16):

[crosstalk 00:08:16] I'm sure.

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:17):

Yes, they have, they've bought out quite a bit of the smaller microbreweries as well. So, they're-

Jeff Lambert (08:23):

Now, did-

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:24):

They are-

Jeff Lambert (08:25):

Go ahead.

Jeff Lambert (08:26):

Does Anheuser-Busch, do they own Busch Gardens? I think they do, don't they?

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:29):

Yes. Yes. Well, I think they owned it at one point. I know, I mean, it's been going through some changes in ownerships. I know they own a percentage, maybe, now. I know that they recently stopped giving away free beer. So, that was sad.

Jeff Lambert (08:44):

They were giving away free beer?

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:46):

At Busch Gardens before, yeah. One of those wholly owned by Busch.

Jeff Lambert (08:49):

Wow. Cool. Well, I mean, not...

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:51):

Not cool anymore, yeah.

Jeff Lambert (08:53):

No, dad gets drunk on vacation, that's not a good thing.

Rogelio Rodriguez (08:56):

Yeah, no, they limit you. Well, they used to limit you. Now, there's 100% limit.

Jeff Lambert (09:02):

You got it. Okay. Well, we're off-track a little bit. Okay. So, what did Anheuser-Busch do during coronavirus to, I guess, pivot their messaging?

Rogelio Rodriguez (09:11):

Yeah, they announced they would begin working with the Red Cross to produce bottles of free hand sanitizer to hospitals and medical clinics. They literally, I mean they're changing their whole manufacturing plants from beer to anti-bacterial lotion. They worked with designers to make little hand sanitizer bottles that look like beer cans, and they all have a tagline. "It's all in our hands to make a difference."

Jeff Lambert (09:34):

That is awesome. I'm looking at a picture of that online right now actually. That's a really sleek-looking product design they have there because it looks like a little mini beer can.

Rogelio Rodriguez (09:44):

Yep. Yep. It's really nice.

Jeff Lambert (09:45):

Huh. That's very smart. So, they're getting their messaging, like they're putting it in people's hands. It still has the logo and the branding, and they're doing something worthwhile. So, hey.

Rogelio Rodriguez (09:55):


Jeff Lambert (09:57):

Kudos to them. Any more information on why they're doing it, where they're going with it, anything like that?

Rogelio Rodriguez (10:01):

Well, on their Twitter account, the amounts that... They have a long... The quote was, "We have a long history of supporting our communities and employees. This time is no different. That's why we're using our supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing needs across the United States." So, I mean, yeah, like you mentioned, it's really something good that they're doing. And I think the key takeaway here is that people remember brands that commit acts of good during times of crisis. It could be donating food to a soup kitchen, providing pay for employees during shutdowns, or providing free products for medical staff. Really, it has to be genuine though. It has to be heartfelt. And I think they did a good job of communicating that because, I mean, they didn't need to. I mean, I think alcohol sales are fine. People are still buying beer, especially for quarantine, right?

Jeff Lambert (10:59):

That's true. If anything, I was reading an article, there's concern that people are drinking more, especially during the workday.

Rogelio Rodriguez (11:04):


Jeff Lambert (11:06):


Rogelio Rodriguez (11:07):

I'm sure.

Jeff Lambert (11:07):

Got to fill those hours.

Rogelio Rodriguez (11:09):


Jeff Lambert (11:09):

But no. Yeah, you bring up a good point, Rod. This is a good opportunity for brands to be like, "Yeah, we're part of this situation and we're going to help." And you can still leave a positive impression in the customer's mind doing that.

Rogelio Rodriguez (11:22):

Yeah. Yeah. I like it.

Jeff Lambert (11:25):

All right. Let's go to story number three. We talked about Burger King, we talked about Anheuser-Busch. Give me another example of successful coronavirus pivoting.

Rogelio Rodriguez (11:36):

Sure. So, Hollywood comes to the couch. So, there's been a constant battle by health authorities to convince people to stay at home and quarantine to really flatten the curve.

Jeff Lambert (11:48):


Rogelio Rodriguez (11:48):

So, to help people, give people a reason to stay on the couch, streaming services and production studios have really banded together to provide more video content for people to enjoy. So, it's been done through outright free content and extended trials. I mean, I'm sure you've experienced some of it. I made the commitment too, to some of these myself, Disney Plus, right? They released Frozen 2 on streaming service way ahead of schedule. I think almost, it may have been almost a year ahead of schedule.

Jeff Lambert (12:22):

Yeah. I thought-

Rogelio Rodriguez (12:23):

Crazy number.

Jeff Lambert (12:24):

Right. I thought that was still in the theaters. They moved quick on that.

Rogelio Rodriguez (12:27):

Yes. Yes. Then HBO made some of their most popular series free to watch like Veep, The Wire, The Sopranos, Silicon Valley, so. And then something that you told me about.

Jeff Lambert (12:40):


Rogelio Rodriguez (12:41):


Jeff Lambert (12:41):

Quibi? Quibi?

Rogelio Rodriguez (12:41):


Jeff Lambert (12:42):


Rogelio Rodriguez (12:42):

It launched...

Jeff Lambert (12:45):

Quibi, Quibi, yeah.

Rogelio Rodriguez (12:48):

They launched their offering and the first three months is free.

Jeff Lambert (12:52):

Oh, so, listen, I'm going to plug Quibi for free Quibi. Call me if you want to drop any money in my lap for plugging you here. Quibi's like a... They've been doing commercials like crazy and ads but it's like the Netflix of quick content, which I think is really cool. So, all their shows are 10 minutes or less and they've got some big names making shows and it's meant to be watched on mobile, primarily. You can watch it vertically or horizontally. And they've got, the girl from Game of Thrones there, Sophie Turner. I think her name is there is Sansa Stark. She's starring in one. Liam Hemsworth is in another one. The bad guy from the bond movie there, Christoph Waltz. Season one.

Rogelio Rodriguez (13:33):


Jeff Lambert (13:34):

Chance the Rapper. He resurrected Punk'd. Remember the old Ashton Kutcher show?

Rogelio Rodriguez (13:39):

Yes. Interesting. I got to download. I'm going to have to download that.

Jeff Lambert (13:39):

Yeah. The production quality's really good on the shows. I'm very impressed. It's not like some people watching home-created shows. They're legit celebrities behind it. Good production quality. It's just the length is shorter. So, it's perfect for if you need a 10-minute break for what you're doing and you need an entertainment picks. Quibi.

Rogelio Rodriguez (14:03):

Interesting. All right. I mean, I got to try it out. Definitely got to try it out.

Jeff Lambert (14:08):

So, Rod, you mentioned all these options. These are streaming services. It's nice that they're helping. I think that's great. But can we talk a little bit about movies and movie theaters? Because movie theaters are shut down, Rod. No one can go watch movies. If you released a movie, like at the beginning of March, you're in so much trouble because no one can go see the movie.

Rogelio Rodriguez (14:28):

Right, right. So, they've also pivoted, they've adapted, and they're now available for home rental, many of them. You can check out the films, like Call of the Wild, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Hunt, The Way Back. They're all available on rental right now. So, you can take advantage of that streaming on your Apple TV or really, anywhere where you can stream movies. They're going to be available for rental. You can just make a purchase online and rent it and watch it.

Jeff Lambert (15:03):

I like that.

Rogelio Rodriguez (15:04):

I think it's great that these are available. For us, I think in terms of marketing takeaway from this article, it's really about never missing an opportunity to help trial your products and service. In the case of... Services are both showing their commitment to the common good and allowing customers to get a taste of what they offer, and in this case, with hope that they'll stick around after the free period ends. So, there's an endless debate about gated and ungated content. But overall, I think they're going to win. Quibi may win my entire payment because three months, that's amazing. And you said the content's pretty good, so.

Jeff Lambert (15:53):

I like it. I mean, you've got a captive audience right now. People are looking for stuff to do, they're stuck at home. So, it's the perfect time to make that offer. Rod, do you think that... This is something I've been thinking about. Do you think that movie theaters, when we get out of this, is this going to become a regular thing where movies maybe when they come out in theaters maybe will be simultaneously available to rent at home where you don't have to wait until the movie's out at theaters? Because if people are buying these movies and it's still generating a good amount of income, and I know for me, I hate having to wait to see a movie because sometimes I don't, I can't go to the theater, I want to see it but then I got to wait like three months. That's BS. I hate that. So.

Rogelio Rodriguez (16:34):

Yeah. I don't know. I mean, that's a great question. I think it's one of those disruptions, where this streaming and the capability to output contents at such a speed are going to force a lot of the theaters to adapt. I mean, I would like to see some older movies back in the theaters. Because I like the experience of going to the theater, but I like it on my terms. I don't want to wait on their schedule or making it a matinee to pricing end at a certain... Too early for me to take time to actually do it. But I mean, I think they're going to have to adapt like everything else, but I think still people are going to go on and go to the theater and enjoy the going to the movies, buying the popcorn, sitting down on a giant screen. I mean, who's going to have... I mean, how big are those screens? 45, 40-feet screen? 40-foot screen?

Jeff Lambert (17:36):


Rogelio Rodriguez (17:36):

It's not going to happen.

Jeff Lambert (17:38):

Right. Yeah, you have to have some serious money in order to replicate that experience. I agree, man. I like going out for a movie still, but it's nice to have the choice, so maybe we'll get that after all this is said and done.

Rogelio Rodriguez (17:48):

Yeah. I'd like that. I'd like the choice, like you said.

Jeff Lambert (17:50):

Yeah. That's all we're at. Customer focus, that's where we always talk about with Inbound like, get your audience on your side, I guess you could say. That's good advice.

Rogelio Rodriguez (17:58):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jeff Lambert (18:00):

Well, there you have it, folks. We have three marketing stories to share with you and trying to pick out the winners of what people are doing with their marketing during the coronavirus pandemic. Here's examples of Burger King and Anheuser-Busch and then Hollywood in general but especially movie studios taking a chance to try and continue monetizing even through this situation.

Jeff Lambert (18:20):

So, thanks for sharing those tips, Rod. And why don't we pivot to our last thing of the episode where we're going to do that almost meaningless study that we're going to ask our listeners to participate in. So, let's talk about what we're doing at home. We are stuck in the house. I've gained some weight since this whole thing went on. We're all looking for maybe some good foods to try during this pandemic. So, let's talk about quarantine foods. Do you have any go-to staples or things that you've tried that you're just crazy about that you want to share with everybody?

Rogelio Rodriguez (18:54):

Sure. I mean, for me, it's been baby carrots. I bought the Costco quarantine-size baby carrots and I'd been eating them for about a month now.

Jeff Lambert (19:04):


Rogelio Rodriguez (19:06):

But I like them with ranch dressing.

Jeff Lambert (19:09):

Nice. You're so good.

Rogelio Rodriguez (19:11):

I try. I try. It's hard, though. I mean, I also bought a Costco-sized pack of croissants and I've eaten way too many of them. It goes hand in hand, you know?

Jeff Lambert (19:24):

All right. So, you've given us a healthy option. Is there a bad option you can share, like maybe something binge-able?

Rogelio Rodriguez (19:33):

Yeah. I bought it by mistake. I didn't realize, I just saw... I wanted to make cookies for my wife and I. And I was like, "Okay, let me grab a cookie." So, I just grabbed a random one. And then, later on, I looked at it and I'm like, "Wait a minute, gluten-free. What is this?" I'm like, "These are going to be terrible." Right? And then, I made them and they're amazing. It's Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free chocolate chip cookie mix. So, the mix is like a mix of like almond flour and some other seed flour. And I mean, it makes it gluten-free. That's what makes it gluten-free. Right? So, no wheat in it.

Jeff Lambert (20:17):

Yeah. And you like them better than regular chocolate chip cookie dough?

Rogelio Rodriguez (20:19):

I mean, they're just as good. So.

Jeff Lambert (20:20):


Rogelio Rodriguez (20:20):

Yeah, they were just as good. I was surprised, you know? I mean, they're not healthy snack because they're full of sugar, but.

Jeff Lambert (20:31):


Rogelio Rodriguez (20:32):

Still, they're delicious and surprising.

Jeff Lambert (20:35):


Rogelio Rodriguez (20:36):

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix.

Jeff Lambert (20:38):

Okay. So, we've got two from you, baby carrots with a little ranch. So, for me, I'm... All right, I'll throw out a healthy one since you threw out a healthy one. Playing. When I need something, I guess, a little bit sweet, that instead of jumping into something processed, I really like... So, you can buy these dates that are rolled in coconut and they're basically crushed dates without the pit in the middle.

Rogelio Rodriguez (21:04):


Jeff Lambert (21:05):

And then they form them into these little squares or these little finger-shaped cylinders. I should know this. I watch the learning shows with my son. Cylinders.

Jeff Lambert (21:14):

So, they roll them in crushed coconut, and they're so good, man. So, one or two of those, you're obviously getting your sugar fix, but it's also healthy too. You're getting a lot of fiber in those. And so, I would recommend those. They sell them at Aldi's for super cheap.

Rogelio Rodriguez (21:30):


Jeff Lambert (21:31):

If you have an Aldi's in your area. But if I'm going for the sinful choice here, oh, there's this thing called Skippy P.B. Bites. [crosstalk 00:21:44]. Oh. You know Skippy peanut butter, right?

Rogelio Rodriguez (21:47):


Jeff Lambert (21:48):

So, basically, they created a product where there's these little graham cracker circles and they roll them in Skippy peanut butter, and they're little, snackable, little circles. I tried two of those and I've pounded the whole thing on the first-

Rogelio Rodriguez (22:04):


Jeff Lambert (22:08):

It was so good. If you like peanut butter, man, these things are like the... These are like recreational drug-level addictive. They're so good. So, I would recommend, and I know they have them in other flavors too. I think you can get Kit-Kat Bites, you can get different candy styles of them. But the Skippy P.B. Bites, folks, I highly recommend that.

Jeff Lambert (22:32):

So, that leads us into our challenge for our listeners for this month. We're going to put a link in the show notes. We're going to put it on our social media. We want you to help us rate which of these is your favorite quarantine food during this time. So, try one of these out and vote for the one that you like best by going to our poll. Like I said, we'll put it in the show notes and we'll also put it on our social media. And at the end of the month, we'll release the results of the most popular quarantine food recommended by Rizen. So, thanks in advance for the feedback. It'll be fun to see what other people like compared to what we have tried as well, right?

Rogelio Rodriguez (23:09):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Jeff Lambert (23:13):

Yeah, it's going to be fun to do, I think, so. That kind of brings us to the end, folks. Thank you for joining us. Like we said, we're starting a once-a-month series called Marketing Burrito and that's just, we're rolling news and strategy and just humor all into one big healthy-sized meal that you can enjoy for your marketing diet. And we're hoping that you'll join us for that on a once-a-month basis. And Rod, anything else to add there?

Rogelio Rodriguez (23:45):

That is it.

Jeff Lambert (23:46):

That is it. All right. So, folks, thank you so much for joining us for another episode and remember, you can expect a new episode every week and it's always going to be filled with advice that's going to help you grow your businesses. And remember, if you're looking for an experienced, friendly, and results-driven team that can help you, check out Rizen. They're available at And you can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn by searching for the username RizenInbound. That's one word, RizenInbound. And I should also mention too, and I usually do by this point, that's Rizen with a Z. R-I-Z-E-N.

Jeff Lambert (24:25):

So, folks, don't forget too, you can remember, you can help us if you enjoy the show, if you enjoyed this episode, if you are watching our videos on YouTube, because we live-stream, well, we're going to live-stream these, but we're doing video versions of this too. And you like Rod's shirt that he's wearing or maybe the pennants on the background or you just like what we're putting out, you like what we're cooking here in the Rizen studio, you can help us just leave a review on the podcast app that you're using. That helps our ratings. That helps us get in front of new people, and we would appreciate your support. But overall, thanks for listening. It has been fun spending time with you, and we will see you on the next episode.



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