Proquo ai report shows brand winners and losers amid COVID-19


Coronavirus stockpiling has led to a sharp rise in popularity for packaged goods, baby food and ready meal brands, such as Charlie Bigham, Pot Noodle and Kiddylicious, according to new research from proquo ai.

Proquo ai research

Social distancing measures introduced as a result of the pandemic has also seen Instagram gain a huge boost in sentiment.

Meanwhile people are turning against private healthcare firms, such as HCA, as private hospitals come under fire for reportedly planning to charge the NHS to rent their beds.

Private healthcare firms have seen the most significant drop of any sector in public perception; according to the new data from marketing agency proquo ai.

The new analysis shows the impact that the spread of the global Covid-19 virus is having on brands. The firm captured how people feel and think about brands every day for the past month. It monitored over 222 brands across 26 different categories before and during the spread of Covid-19.


HCA Healthcare plummets

HCA Healthcare’s score for integrity amongst its customers saw a 22% decline as of 3 March, when the government confirmed the fiftieth UK Covid-19 cases, until 19 March.

Meanwhile, positive sentiment for Instagram from people who don’t use the platform has gone up 400%.

Non-users found Instagram 55% more understanding of their needs; 82% easier to relate to; 48% more popular; and 62% clearer in the role the brand plays in their lives compared to before the crisis began.


Baby food brands like Kiddylicious saw a surge in positive consumer perception amongst people who don’t currently buy the brand.

Interestingly, non-users felt the brand was 13% more relevant, 11% more consistent and 13% more understanding of their needs than before Covid-19 cases in the UK hit the 50 mark.

Brands boosted by stockpiling mentality

People are also turning to brands they wouldn’t necessarily use outside of a crisis, such as packaged goods brands which can be stockpiled.

Ready-meal brand Charlie Bigham’s scored a 15% increase in relevance, driven by men.

Meanwhile instant snack brand Pot Noodle saw marked rises in empathy (+15%), especially amongst younger people aged 18-24.

This same age group also found Ginsters, the hot snacks brand, 54% more empathetic than before the crisis hit.

The AI-powered analysis gathered over 1.6m expressed feelings from over 30,000 people within the UK and the US.

“The ability for brands to maintain their reliability, to understand the needs of people, to be easily accessible and maintain connection – even through times of social distancing—will be the things which ultimately determine brand success”, Jim Brennan, Managing Director of proquo ai, said.

“And as consumers continue hunkering down in a global effort to flatten the curve, brands can be sure they’ll see a positive light at the end of the tunnel so long as they continue to stay strong, tune in, and serve the ever-changing needs of people.”

However, panic buying has come under increasing criticism from the UK government, retailers and the general public this week.

People are now being encourage to keep calm and shop normally, which should prevent stocks running unnecessarily low.