Coronavirus visualised as a green gas in UK government’s latest pandemic campaign

Film is fronted by Good Morning Britain’s Dr Hilary Jones.

The UK government has unveiled a Covid-19 campaign encouraging members of the public to “stick to the rules” as lockdown measures continue to ease across the UK.

Created by Freuds and narrated by Good Morning Britain’s Dr Hilary Jones, “Hands, face, space and fresh air” outlines the impact of fresh air on the spread of the virus.

“Fresh air dilutes the virus particles and can blow them away,” Jones states while a visual representation of Covid-19 spreads through the air, showcasing that the risk of infection is significantly lower outdoors.

It ends as he declares: “Help keep the virus levels down and let's take this next step safely."

The film is running alongside an ad from MullenLowe that shows a group of people interacting outside, while a narrator reasusures viewers that the fresh air is “much safer” because coronavirus particles can blow away.

The campaign made its TV debut last night (29 March) on ITV, and runs across TV, radio, press, digital and out of home.

“Our latest campaign ‘Hands, face, space and fresh air’ is a crucial reminder that as we start to see our friends and family again, it’s vital that we all continue to follow the essential behaviours,” Conrad Bird, director of campaigns and marketing at the Cabinet Office’s Covid-19 Hub, said. 

“Everyone has a great understanding of the need to wash our hands, wear a face covering and keep space, and these are still necessary, but we also need to remember how important fresh air is – letting it into your homes regularly and staying outside when you meet people."

Bird continued: “By reminding the public of these behaviours we can control the spread of the virus, protect ourselves and others, and take this next step safely.”

An ad last year from the Scottish government featured a similar visualisation of the spread the virus, which urged people: “Don’t pass coronavirus to the people you love”. 

Tom Knox, chairman of MullenLowe London, said: “As we reach the next exciting milestone of restrictions easing, we need to remind the public that Covid-19 is still around and you can still spread it.

"The new ‘Hands, face, space and fresh air’ advertising campaign shows the importance of these behaviours in everyday scenarios, including meeting friends outside and having barbecues in gardens.”

Knox added: “We wanted it to communicate to everyone, as we all start seeing our friends and family more, that being outdoors is safer, as the risk of infection and spread of Covid-19 is lower.”

In January, the government launched an emotive ad, also created by MullenLowe, calling on the public to think about the impact of their actions on healthcare staff and patients during the pandemic. 

Also earlier this year, a radio ad from the government was discontinued for its claims that joggers are "highly likely to have Covid-19", while another ad was pulled for its depiction of domestic tasks being handled by women.

Jones said: “As we are approaching these milestones out of lockdown, we all must be vigilant and follow the new guidelines where we can, especially as we can now see our friends and family. 

“We’ve learnt a lot about Covid-19 and how it transmits, but we’ve also learnt how to reduce the spread, and research shows that it’s much safer to meet people in the fresh air than indoors.

Nielsen named the government as the UK’s top traditional advertiser last year, after the brand more than tripled its adspend during the pandemic.

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