Govt taps Mark Strong for 'delay' stage of coronavirus campaign

Work created by MullenLowe Group.

Coronavirus: awareness campaign launched at the beginning of this month
Coronavirus: awareness campaign launched at the beginning of this month

The government has launched the next phase of its public-information campaign about coronavirus – referred to as the "delay" stage – with an ad featuring chief medical officer Chris Whitty and voiceover by actor Mark Strong.

Created by MullenLowe Group and spanning TV, print, radio, social media and out-of-home activity, the work advices people to stay at home for seven days if they develop a high temperature or new continuous cough, as announced by health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday (Sunday).

"Coronavirus is the biggest public-health crisis we have faced in a generation," Hancock said. "It continues to spread both in the UK and around the world, and we need to accept that, sadly, many more of us will become infected.

"The government and the NHS are working 24/7 to fight this virus. We must all work together and play our own part in protecting ourselves and each other, as well as our NHS, from this disease. This expanded campaign will focus on ensuring the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe.

"Combating this virus will require a national effort – we all have a role to play to slow its spread and protect the elderly and the vulnerable."

Earlier this month, the government launched the first phase of its coronavirus awareness campaign, detailing the importance of washing your hands more often, while the NHS has worked with social media platforms and search engines to combat online myths and misinformation about the disease.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "We know that novel coronavirus affects the most vulnerable the most and so it is absolutely vital that we do everything we can to protect them. 

"This new guidance sets out what we can all do to help save the lives of those most at risk."

Last week, Boris Johnson announced that the UK has moved into the second stage of its plan to tackle coronavirus in the UK, correlating with the decision of Whitty to raise the risk to the UK from moderate to high.

In light of the pandemic, Facebook has given the World Health Organization free ads to support its coronavirus campaign, with social platform also banning ads for face masks for exploiting the public-health emergency.

Also last week, an ad for a mattress company was banned by the ASA for linking coronavirus to nationality, while creatives across the globe have come together to launch the "#RacisimIsTheRealVirus" movement.

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