Coronavirus live blog: keep up to date with Campaign

Stylist launches WFH podcast and plans two-day virtual fitness event.

Coronavirus: latest news (Getty Images)
Coronavirus: latest news (Getty Images)

Tuesday 7 April

3pm: Stylist launches WFH podcast and plans two-day virtual fitness event

Stylist has launched a podcast series designed for a virtual office. Working from Home with Stylist will have practical and reassuring advice, as well as "vibrand watercooler chat" – topics that the magazine says are in high demand. 

The podcast is part of a digital franchise that Stylist set up at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in the UK. It includes a private community Facebook group that serves as a support network and has 1,600 members. 

Stylist is also planning to host its first virtual event, the Strong Weekender, on 18 April. The two-day initiative is described as a "workout marathon" and will take place in partnership with fitness studios including Blok and Third Space. 

1pm: Lucozade supports indoor fitness push with £100,000 fund

Lucozade Sport has unveiled a £100,000 fund fronted by two-time boxing world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua that aims to support fitness coaches across the nation.

Launching today, the "Keep us moving" campaign will see trainers – many of whom are losing income as a result of gym and leisure centre closures – host free online classes via the brand’s social channels. All trainers will be paid for their content, which will comprise accessible home workout routines.

Tom Bell, head of marketing at Lucozade Sport, said: "We wanted to show our support for the people that keep our nation active and we hope our new 'Keep us moving' initiative will offer trainers and instructors some welcome support during the crisis, while giving the UK access to a diverse range of free home workouts for a variety of abilities."

11.30am: Elvis leans in to dystopia with Big Brother-style ‘diary room’

Elvis has launched a Big Brother-inspired room on Google Chat in an attempt to raise office morale as staff continue to work from home. 

The room, deemed "Elvisolation", allows people to share short clips from their working day to keep each other in the loop. It will be home to all-agency meetings on Tuesdays and a much-appreciated drink on Friday afternoons.

11.15am: Led By Donkeys holds brands to account

Led By Donkeys launched an out-of-home ad holding brands responsible for their behaviour surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Located in Poole, the billboard compares one mum’s efforts as a nurse amid disruption caused by Covid-19 with easyJet’s pleas for state loans, despite distributing a £174m handout to shareholders. 

Each side of the billboard is labelled "hero" and "zero", and was posted by the activist group alongside the caption: "When all this is over let’s remember who looked out for us. And who didn’t."

10.45am: Bacardi launches virtual bar with Deliveroo

Bacardi has partnered Deliveroo Editions to launch a virtual bar to give more than 120 outlets a platform to sell cocktails to locals. The #RaiseYourSpirits initiative aims to help bars and restaurants that have had to close during the lockdown. The brand is investing £1.5m into the initiative.

Amanda Almond, managing director at Bacardi UK and Ireland, said: "Our strong relationships with bars and bartenders in the UK is incredibly important to us and, as we face the current challenges together, we’re doing all we can to provide the support they need.

"We have 158 years’ experience of overcoming crises and coming out fighting, and through our #RaiseYourSpirits initiative, we intend to do exactly that for our on-trade partners."

10.30am: WhatsApp limits forwarding of messages

Facebook messaging service WhatsApp has announced new limits on the forwarding of messages in an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Starting today, messages that have been identified as "highly forwarded" (those sent through a chain of five or more people) can only be forwarded to a single person. In the UK, MPs have begun investigating the role of social media companies in enabling conspiracy theories to spread relating to the coronavirus. 

Monday 6 April

4.30pm: Ocean Outdoor secures £10m advertising fund for SMEs

Ocean Outdoor, the out-of-home media owner, is supporting retailers and small businesses most severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with an advertising fund worth a media value of £10m.

It will give businesses access to advertising space across Ocean's sites in 12 cities in the UK as it aims to help the local economies where it operates.

Ocean UK joint managing directors Phil Hall and Steve George said: "Brands, retailers and SMEs need to continue to market themselves, so our message is: do not go dark. Previous crises have seen a reasonably rapid return to ‘normality’ for strong brands – and research from Kantar shows that stronger brands recover nine times faster.

"However, for many SMEs, income streams and operating costs are under incredible strain. Ocean hopes to alleviate some of that stress through this fund. If we can leverage our network to help keep businesses and local economies going, or kick-start them even, then that can only be a good thing."

3.45pm: MPs ask public for help in identifying conspiracy theories

A senior group of MPs are urging the public to send them examples of coronavirus disinformation as part of an investigation into social media's role in enabling conspiracy theories to spread.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is supporting actions by the government to hold social media companies to account after a conspiracy about 5G spreading coronavirus apparently led people to vandalise phone masts in Birmingham and Liverpool over the weekend.

Julian Knight, the committee chair, said: "To hear that crackpot theories are leading to people attacking phone masts or threatening telecom workers is sickening and it’s clearly time to act."

3pm: Acast campaign encourages people to stay at home

Podcast publisher Acast has launched "Staycast", a new campaign that urges people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic as well as show recommendations. Listeners will hear messages of support (or "Staycasts") across thousands of the network’s shows, including Watch What Crappens and Hollywood Crime Scene. There will also be reminders of local government advice around staying at home and isolating. This will be accompanied by social media activity on Instagram – takeovers of the platform's Live, IGTV and Story formats – including Q&As with podcasters and tutorials.

12.45pm: ITV encourages kids to get involved in ident artwork

ITV has introduced a project for children to get creative at home by coming up with artwork that can be projected on to its logo during the channel's idents. "ITV kids create" builds on the broadcaster's existing ident approach, ITV Creates, which showcases new idents each week. Paul Ridsdale, director of viewer marketing, said: "We know that keeping children entertained at home can be a challenge in the current climate, so we thought this project was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the nation's budding artists, whilst also hopefully offering parents some support."  

12.30pm: Amazon postpones Prime Day

Amazon is set to postpone Prime Day, its summer promotional event, from mid-July until at least August, according to Reuters. The news service obtained internal meeting notes that showed the ecommerce giant was anticipating a $100m (£81m) hit delaying Prime Day, as it will have five million extra devices such as Echo speakers that it would have expected to sell sooner. Prime Day took place during 15-16 July last year.

10.45am: Businesses lack confidence they can survive, DMA finds

Only a quarter of businesses are confident they can last longer than six months under the current circumstances, according to research from the Data & Marketing Association.

The DMA’s Coronavirus Survey found that just over half of companies that responded said they were operating "business as usual" (53.6%). Two in five (40%) said they believed they could continue to operate for six months or less, with half of those saying they could do so for no more than three months. Another third (34%) were unsure how long they could continue. 

Meanwhile, the majority of participants (63%) said they were definitely applying or were likely to apply to a government scheme for help, with deferring VAT payments (54%), the job retention scheme (46%) and time-to-pay service (40%) the most common.

The study polled 90 UK data and marketing industry professionals, predominantly senior staff representing a spread of small, medium and large businesses across business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors.

10.30am: VaynerMedia restructures

VaynerMedia has laid off some of its global workforce in a restructure that is "part of the normal course of business", the company said in a statement.

The digital media company said the lay-offs were not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Adweek reported that VaynerMedia shed just under 5% of its global headcount of about 900 people.

9.45am: B-Reel decides to stay open

Last week, Campaign reported in this blog that B-Reel London had become one of the first businesses to collapse because of coronavirus, after managing director John Wilson wrote on LinkedIn that the agency was closing its doors.

However, the subsequent announcement of government support for businesses and employees appears to have thrown B-Reel a lifeline.

Anders Wahlquist, co-founder and chief executive, shared the following statement: "Last week, we believed we had no alternative but to close our London office, due to a slow business period and real concern over Covid-19. It could have been too big of a risk to the other commercially functional offices to support the UK office through this very challenging time.

"However, a few days later, the possibility of receiving financial support was presented by UK authorities. After having explored these possibilities, we have decided to furlough the UK team and work to get the company back on its feet, in the interest of our employees, clients and sister companies."

7.30am: Daily Mirror publisher to furlough 20% of staff

Reach, one of the UK's biggest national and regional newspaper publishers, is to furlough 20% of staff under the UK government's Coronavirus Job Protection Scheme. The owner of the Daily Mirror and Manchester Evening News warned of "uncertainty around the severity and length of the crisis and the resulting impact on Reach in terms of advertising, print circulation and events".

All Reach employees will have a 10% pay reduction, while ensuring no employee falls below the Living Wage. Board directors and "some members of our most senior editorial and management team" will take a pay cut of 20%. Reach has also cancelled its planned dividend payout to shareholders.

00.01am: IPA makes courses, qualifications and exams free

The IPA is making all courses, qualifications and exams free until 2 October, in light of the financial, emotional and physical impact of coronavirus on agencies and their employees.

The courses are available for all IPA member agencies, their employees and individual members for six months, and any members who have already paid for these services will be reimbursed by the IPA.

"The impact of Covid-19 has meant agencies are having to make some incredibly tough decisions – whether that’s budget tightening or furloughing or redundancies," Paul Bainsfair, director-general of the IPA, said. "While investing in professional development provides long-term financial gain, contemplating any additional discretionary costs may simply not be possible for agencies or individuals at this present time.

"By making our full range of training free for our members until 2 October, we will ensure agency staff, including any furloughed individuals, have access to stimulating, relevant and purposeful materials that will contribute to their ongoing well-being in a time of mental stress. We also want to help IPA member agencies stand themselves in the best professional stead throughout the downturn and in its aftermath."

See the previous week's developments