Dr Mumbo

Dr Mumbo: Omnicom’s shares drop as Omicron variant pops up

The shares of Omnicom Group on the New York Stock Exchange have done a curious thing over the weekend, with a sharp decline on Friday from US$68.94 to a low of US$66.26.

Dr Mumbo cannot help but note that the drop in Omnicom’s shares seems to coincide with the news hitting around the world of the latest variant of COVID-19 labeled as Omicron, which shares remarkable similarities in name.

The drop in Omnicom Group's shares

The drop in Omnicom Group’s shares

The share prices appear to be bouncing back, but it serves as a reminder to all the fickle nature of the pandemic and its effects on business around the world.

The Google Trends for “Omicron” over the past week

It’s been a tough few years for other brands navigating the different variant names during this pandemic. Dr Mumbo notes with some amusement that Delta Airlines’ CEO Ed Bastian was, for some reason, reluctant to use the term “Delta variant” in a memo to employees back in August, calling it the “B.1.617.2 variant” instead.

Corona, the beer, made headlines in late February 2020 when a phone survey conducted by a public relations firm purported to show that many Americans had mistakenly associated the brand with COVID-19. According to reports at the time, 38% of respondents reportedly said they “would not buy Corona under any circumstances now”.

Although the coronavirus disease was named after the Latin word for ‘crown’ due to its characteristic crown-like spikes which can be observed when it is viewed under a microscope, the link to Corona Beer, whose logo is also a crown, is clearly coincidental, but is nevertheless present.

However, while there was early confusion, the pandemic did not have any lingering impact on beer sales. Profit from the beer division of alcohol company Constellation Brands, which owns the rights to Corona in the United States, rose 13% in the late summer and fall, according to Wall Street analysts.

Dr Mumbo would like to take this opportunity to forewarn any company with Greek alphabet names or, indeed, names somewhat similar to the Greek alphabet to get ahead of any bad PR as COVID seems intent to keep mutating through the entire alphabet and beyond.


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