Doing their bit in a crisis: M&S, Unilever, eBay and Giffgaff

It's week five of official lockdown and brands are coming up with more innovative ways to help.

M&S: T-shirts are currently sold out but more are being made
M&S: T-shirts are currently sold out but more are being made

M&S launches T-shirts in support of NHS Charities Together

Following customer demand, Marks & Spencer has launched a range of T-shirts under the banner "All in this together", with profits going to NHS Charities Together. The retailer had already donated several thousand bespoke T-shirts for staff to wear as part of their uniform at NHS Nightingale London, which it said led customers to request one that they could buy.

Nathan Ansell, clothing and home marketing director at M&S, said: "We all want to do our bit and offering a T-shirt for each member of the family is our way of helping our customers to do theirs. 

"Emails (including to our seven million Sparks members) and social media have been our key customer channels during this time and that’s where we’ll be predominately marketing these tops. On social, a few friends of the M&S brand will be showing their support on Instagram – but, most importantly, we can’t wait to see our customers' posts in their new T-shirts as they show their support and #ClapForOurCarers."

Unilever brings in experience agency to deliver care packages

In an attempt to not only make healthcare workers more comfortable, but also allow people whose usual work has stopped to make a contribution to the coronavirus effort, Unilever brought in experience agency Hot Pickle to help it supply care packages to staff at the NHS Nightingale hospital in London.

The work was delivered by the agency's new division, Un-Pickle, which aims to provide practical solutions for brands facing logistical or production challenges by using the network of suppliers that had been used for experiential work.

EBay teams up with public bodies to tackle PPE supply problems

EBay is working with the NHS, the army and the government to create an online portal to help ease some of the personal protective equipment supply issues the UK is facing. The platform, which is currently in a pilot phase, aims to help primary- and social-care providers order PPE.

The portal, which uses eBay marketplace technology, allows NHS workers to order a limited range of PPE via the NHS catalogue. The items are being supplied by NHS Supply Chain and sent by Royal Mail. The government, which announced eBay's involvement at the daily Downing Street press conference last night, has come under scrutiny for failures in acquiring PPE from overseas.

Giffgaff matches donations of mobile credit

Giffgaff has launched an initiative called "Goodybank", in which members can buy additional credit – covering calls, texts and data – for vulnerable people, with the network matching all donations. The brand has pledged £75,000 to a Neighbourly community fund, which will be used to support struggling Brits at a local level.

Ash Schofield, chief executive of Giffgaff, said: "We have always had community at our heart and never has a sense of community been more important. Even if we’re far apart, we want people to know they can ask for help and someone will always be there to offer that help and keep them connected."

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