NHS launches third phase in coronavirus campaign with 'lockdown' clarification

Third permutation of comms drive is most stringent yet.

The government and NHS have embarked on the third phase of their coronavirus campaign, leading the push with a TV ad featuring chief medical officer Chris Whitty and more prescriptive, post-lockdown instructions to the UK populace.

The 30-second "vital update" kicks off with the words "Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives" on screen and voiced by actor Mark Strong, before a stoney-faced Whitty speaks direct to camera.

"Anyone can spread coronavirus," he says and goes on to highlight the only permissible reasons people have to leave their homes. 

The TV spot goes on air tonight and is supported by print, radio, digital and social media activity. 

Social animations include messages that repeat the TV line: "Coronavirus. Stay at home. Save lives." It lists a series of acceptable behaviours as denoted by Whitty, set alongside green ticks, such as "To shop for basic necessities or pick up medicine" and "To exercise once a day, alone or with members of your household". A final point is set against a red cross, warning: "Do not meet others, even friends or family."

The work was created by MullenLowe London, MullenLowe Profero and Mediahub. Media buying has been handled by Omnigov, Manning Gottlieb OMD's dedicated agency.

It marks the third phase in the government and the NHS’s coronavirus public-information drive. Phase two kicked off last Monday. The "delay stage" activity, which also featured Whitty and Strong, focused on what the public should be doing to stem the spread of coronavirus, although less stringently than in the latest drive.

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