Government launches Covid ad delayed three days by death of Prince Philip

Ad was supposed to make its TV debut on Friday.

The UK government has launched its latest Covid-19 ad, which was delayed due to the death of Prince Philip on Friday.

The ad, which urges the public to take the “next step safely” and use free, rapid Covid-19 testing twice a week, made its TV debut during Coronation Street on ITV yesterday evening (12 April). 

It had been scheduled to run on ITV on Friday, ahead of yesterday's easing of lockdown restrictions in England, but was postponed when the Duke of Edinburgh's death led the broadcaster to suspend all advertising

Created by MullenLowe, “NHS weekly testing” highlights that through rapid Covid-19 testing, Brits will be working to protect their "loved ones, friends and workmates" as lockdown measures continue to ease across the UK.

The ad, which comes alongside radio, press, digital and outdoor activity, also demonstrates how people can fit rapid tests into their morning routine.

It was created by Colin Jones and Philip Martin, and directed by Neil Gorringe through Rouge Films. Media is handled by OmniGov and MGOMD.

“Around one in three people have coronavirus without any symptoms, so getting tested regularly is one of the simplest and easiest ways we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary, said.

“I’d encourage everyone to take up the offer and test twice a week."

LFD: campaign includes outdoor and print activity

An estimated one in three people who contract Covid-19 do not experience any symptoms. Analysis from NHS Test and Trace shows that fewer than one in 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out produce false positives.

Hancock continued: “Alongside the successful rollout of the vaccination programme, rapid testing will be one of our most effective weapons in tackling this virus and ensuring we can cautiously reopen our economy and parts of society that we have all missed.

"The British people have made a tremendous effort throughout the pandemic and I am confident they will do the same now by taking up this offer of free, rapid tests."

The government has also updated its “Hands, face, space, fresh air” campaign to promote use of the NHS Covid-19 app when checking into hairdressers, gyms and other spaces. 

Also created by Mullenlowe, "Magnificent six” follows a thirsty punter as he decides who to invite to the pub for drinks.

“I’m sure they’re fine, but you can’t always tell with Covid,” the man concludes before cutting down his group to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

A narrator declares: “You’re much safer in the fresh air because Covid-19 particles are blown away”, before the ad comes to a close.

It was created by Jane Briers and Dave Cornmell, and directed by Fred Scott through Merman and runs across TV, digital, social, radio and outdoor channels.

Dr Zoe Williams, TV doctor and practising NHS GP, said: “Twice-weekly testing will be crucial in helping us manage the spread of the virus as society starts to reopen.  

"Key workers such as myself and my colleagues have been carrying these out for the last few months, and it’s amazing how quickly they have become second nature to us.”

Williams remarked that results for the tests come back in 30 minutes, making them a “quick and easy” preventative measure during the pandemic. 

She continued: “However, it’s important to remember that there is not one silver bullet in the fight against Covid-19, and even with a negative test result, we must still follow social distancing guidelines – hands, face, space, fresh air, and go for our vaccines when called.” 

In January, the UK government launched a coronavirus-focused campaign focusing on the human responsibility to follow social distancing guidelines, “Look into my eyes”.