Coronavirus live blog: 16-22 May

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

Amazon Prime Day to take place in September.

Friday 22 May

11am: Amazon Prime Day to take place in September

Amazon Prime Day, which usually takes place in early July, will be postponed until September, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The tech giant is now pushing back the two-day sales event to ensure its warehouses and logistics operations are running at full capacity.

The decision to delay could result in a potential $100m hit from products that the brand might have expected to sell sooner.

Amazon had been forced to cut back on deliveries of non-essential items during the coronavirus pandemic because of the increased demand for goods such as cleaning products.

The company is now taking steps to return its delivery service to levels before the lockdown.

10.30am: Facebook signals shift towards more remote working

Facebook is the latest tech company to signal a move towards a more remote workforce.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told staff in a live stream yesterday that Facebook is "aggressively opening up remote hiring". He estimated that half of Facebook's staff could work remotely in the next five to 10 years.

Last week, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey announced the company's staff could work from home "forever".

9.45am: Karmarama launches online internship programme

Karmarama has unveiled a virtual internship programme in order to help those seeking a career in advertising or PR.

With information on how to apply available from 1 June, the initiative will run for four weeks and provide insights into the industry through educational sessions and daily project work with current clients.

"For Karmarama, this is an exciting new venture to help the agency find untapped talent nationally," Luke Prebble, head of employee experience at Karmarama, said.

"Operating successfully as a fully dispersed workforce over the last couple of months has proven to us that proximity is a barrier that need not exist. We hope our innovative virtual scheme will go some way to popping the ‘London bubble' and opening new career opportunities to a more diverse audience than ever before."

Thursday 21 May

3pm: Academy shoots ad in London

Academy is shooting an ad for Ogilvy on the streets of London today, in a hopeful sign for the production sector, which has been hard hit by lockdown restrictions.

The crew is adhering to social-distancing guidelines, while agency and client teams view a live feed from home and give feedback via Zoom. The spot is directed by Si & Ad.

2pm: Dmexco to go ahead in September

Dmexco has decided to press ahead with its annual digital marketing conference in September. It will be held in Cologne during 23-24 September, as planned before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"Dmexco 2020 will take place on September 23 and 24 in Cologne as planned and we will ensure that the hygiene and distance rules are observed," the organisers wrote in an email to an exhibitor seen by German news site iBusiness.

Advertising and marketing trade shows have been cancelled or postponed in 2020, including Cannes Lions, over uncertainty that companies will want to attend international events this year, even after lockdown measures have eased.

11am: Fabulous' NHS appeal reaches £1m in donations from brands

The Sun’s Fabulous NHS Care Package campaign has racked up £1m in donations from more than 60 brands, including Crabtree & Evelyn, Burt’s Bees and Ted Baker.

Launched last month by Fabulous’ former beauty editor Lauren Ezekiel, the initiative has received about 200,000 items – including 30,000 moisturisers, 24,000 lip balms and 11,000 hand creams – all of which have been donated to front-line workers via NHS-supporting charity Helpforce.

Rachel Shields, assistant editor at Fabulous, said: "We asked and generous beauty brands offered up their goodies in spades. I can only thank you for helping us to treat our NHS staff working in such difficult conditions."

10.15am: Creatives take inclusive approach to clapping

Freelance creative team Olly Cooper and Elliot Shiels have created a tool for people who find it difficult to clap during the weekly #ClapForOurCarers initiative in support of the NHS.

Tap to Clap is a site that allows users to join in the celebrations by tapping a button on their phone – or getting a friend, relative or carer to do it for them – that will play the sound of clapping.

9am: Travelzoo outdoor campaign looks forward to 2021

Online holiday platform Travelzoo has unveiled an outdoor campaign that looks forward to a time when people will be able to go on holiday again.

Created by TMW Unlimited, the work encourages Brits to save money and "let their mind wander" via Travelzoo’s promotions for 2021.

Launching tomorrow (Friday), it will run for two weeks in major cities including Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Glyn Owen, UK head of marketing at Travelzoo, said: "The travel industry has been severely hit by the pandemic, so it’s not time to travel – but it is time to dream and plan for the future."

8.45am: Carling unites footballers to support CALM

Carling has enlisted footballers to discuss mental health in partnership with Campaign Against Living Miserably.

The "Caring team talks" campaign shows the players as they give advice on how to support friends’ mental well-being during lockdown, a period when feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst men has increased. 

Launched via Carling’s social media channels, the campaign is supported by the League Managers Association and is part of a three-year partnership between the beer brand and CALM.

Philip Whitehead, managing director at Molson Coors, which owns Carling, said: "As football has always been part of our DNA, it feels only right that we use our partnership with CALM to provide genuine advice from footballing faces who have a lifetime of experience in delivering inspiring talks in the face of adversity – launched in a space where men feel comfortable communicating.

Simon Gunning, chief executive of CALM, added: "CALM has always been present in places that you might not expect us to be. By being in those areas where mental-health issues often go unrecognised or ignored, we open up the conversation to everyone, we move it forward, tackle taboos and, crucially, stop people from reaching crisis point.

"Our long-term three-year partnership with Carling allows us to do just that. By sharing our love of the game and supporting the 'Team talks' campaign, we hope to bring the football community together and to help each other through challenging times."

Wednesday 20 May

4pm: Funeral of Rob Stephens to take place on Thursday

The funeral of Rob Stephens, chief executive of John Ayling & Associates, is taking place on tomorrow (Thursday) at Braywick Cemetery, Maidenhead. Stephens died on 24 April, having been admitted to hospital on 3 April.

Stephens joined JAA in 1986 from Masius and worked his way up to deputy managing director in 2002. He was promoted to CEO in January 2014.

"Rob was a master media craftsman and made a major contribution to our business, especially in developing our in-house analysis tools. He has left an indelible mark on the agency with the high standards he set. Most of all, he was a thoroughly decent bloke. We all miss him," executive chairman John Ayling said.

Due to current restrictions, only close family can attend. However, charitable donations and tributes can be made to The Brett Foundation in Maidenhead or the Clock Tower Sanctuary. 

3.30pm: Pot Noodle launches virtual careers fair for housebound students

Pot Noodle is championing unconventional job opportunities with a virtual careers fair created by national student agency, Raptor.

Building on Pot Noodle’s "Cook less, live more" brand positioning created by Adam & Eve/DDB, the augmented-reality initiative allows students to think about their future while universities are closed. Jobs showcased at the fair include social broadcaster, esports growth associate and artificial-intelligence sports researcher.

Andre Burger, vice-president of foods and refreshments, UK and Ireland, at Unilever, said: "We want to showcase the range of careers available and encourage students to find the path that is right for them by championing the unconventional and inspiring students to try out more unusual roles.

"From online radio broadcasting to becoming our chief noodle insights officer, the opportunities are endless and we’re here to give the younger generation the kick-start they need."

3pm: Asda trials virtual queuing system in Leeds

Asda is trialling a "virtual queuing" initiative in Leeds as part of its investment in longer-term measures to support social distancing.

The new virtual system is currently being trialled at the Middleton store and allows users to log in and book a place in the virtual queue using their phones. They then wait in their car and are alerted when they are allowed to enter the store. The system will eliminate extended queues of people snaking through the car park.

Roger Burnley, chief executive of Asda, said: "Social-distancing measures will still last for the rest of the year. It has become increasingly clear that Covid-19 is set to be part of our lives for months to come.

"With two-thirds of customers still concerned around safety in supermarkets, Asda is investing in more longer-term measures to support social distancing in its stores."

12.30pm: Hiyacar offers free service to NHS workers

Hiyacar, the peer-to-peer car-sharing brand, has launched an out-of-home and social media campaign to promote its free service for NHS workers. "#NipHomeSafe" was created by Fold7. Media space was donated by Ocean Outdoor in a deal brokered by Miroma Outcomes.

Ryan Newey, chief creative officer at Fold7, said: "It’s heartbreaking that NHS workers, who risk their lives every day, are scared to use public transport. And it’s only going to get worse. We hope this simple message will have a direct impact on the health and well-being of the people we all need the most right now."

10.45am: M&S cuts clothing and home marketing spend by £50m

Marks & Spencer is cutting clothing and home marketing spend by £50m this year as it looks to make savings as a result of the slump in trading amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In its full-year financial report, released this morning, the retailer said it is planning to reduce costs of about £500m. "Non-essential spending has been reduced at all levels," M&S said. This includes clothing and home marketing, pay levels and recruitment.

Odd picked up the clothing and home advertising account in March 2019 after the retailer split with Grey London, which continues to work on the food division.

For the year ended 28 March, M&S reported profit before tax and adjusting items at £403.1m, down 21% year on year. It said this includes an "adverse" profit impact of £52m in March, which "we largely attribute to Covid-19".

10.30am: Havas outlines return-to-office measures

Havas is to provide staff with face masks and only allow 50 employees to enter its London building per hour as it plans a phased return to the office.

Its 2,000 UK staff are being briefed this week about the measures the company is implementing. Following government advice, the King’s Cross office is set to reopen on 1 June for limited numbers of staff at a time.

Upon entering the building, every employee will have their temperature checked and will need to follow a one-way stairs system. Meeting room capacity will also be reduced to 50% and no external visitors will be allowed.

See the full story here.

10.30am: Pablo creatives support local businesses with graphic posters

Pablo London has created a campaign to support small and independent businesses during the pandemic. The 16 graphic posters cover local businesses such as hairdressers, gyms and furniture shops, with the hashtag #SupportLocal.

They will initially run across 30 sites in London at out-of-home locations owned by London Lites. The work was created by Nathalie Gordon, Amy Fasey, Jacob Hellström and Dan Watts.

9am: DAN unveils online curriculum for students

Dentsu Aegis Network is launching an online curriculum for students, delivered through its schools programme, The Code, in response to Covid-19 and the end of work-ready programme access for pupils. Employees will put themselves forward as mentors and create educational video courses to help students learn key skills, such as the importance of data, using the company's audience insight tool and people-based marketing approaches.

The advertising company is also rolling out a digital version of The Code’s Rise Up competition involving a real client brief for those aged between 15 and 18. Prizewinners will gain work experience and career coaching from senior Dentsu Aegis staff. Students will be able to respond creatively in teams or as individuals, with entries closing on 10 July. Judging will take place over the summer, ahead of a virtual finale in September.

The Code was created to open the doors of the creative and digital industries to people from diverse backgrounds, creating employment opportunities for the next generation and diversifying the talent pipeline for adland.

Tuesday 19 May

3.30pm: Marketing and PR jobs to be some of hardest hit

Jobs in business services, including marketing and PR, will be among the hardest-hit sectors in the UK economy, according to one of the UK's leading employment surveys.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's Labour Market Outlook, which surveys employers, forecasts a 21% drop in business services, which comprise marketing and PR, in the spring. This is the third-worst among 13 sectors in the study and ranks above only hospitality and transport.

12.30pm: Talon launches 'world's largest' user-generated digital out-of-home campaign

Talon Outdoor and Grand Visual have launched "#SendingLove", a campaign running across 153 cities that encourages people to send messages of love to those they cannot visit by uploading their pictures and locations at

The initiative is facilitated by Plexus, Talon’s global OOH network, and uses ad space worth $15m (£12.2m) donated by more than 70 media owners, including Global, Clear Channel UK, Ocean Outdoor UK and JCDecaux North America. It uses a creative automation system developed by Grand Visual that geo-targets messages to the chosen city.

Frank Bryant, group chief operating officer at Talon, said: "It’s great to see an initial idea to share love between countries grow into a powerful multichannel concept. Centrally co-ordinated by our Plexus team, the collaboration from our global network, and the industry as a whole, has been truly inspirational. The willingness to make this happen by all has delivered a media first for user-generated OOH creative whilst raising money for the global Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund."

10.45: CALM hosts celebrity Mario Kart competition

Campaign Against Living Miserably, which has experienced an increase in demand since the lockdown was announced on 23 March, is streaming a Mario Kart competition featuring celebrity contestants via Twitch. 

The "CALM lock-in: Mario Kart 8 Edition" will raise money through donations to support the running of its helpline services. 

Taking place for two hours from 7pm on 19 May, each match will be live on the contestants' own Instagram channels, while host Amelia Dimoldenberg will commentate on the games live on CALM’s Twitch page.

Players include Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, who starred in Normal People, which explored issues surrounding mental health. Others include rugby player Anthony Watson, footballer Tyrone Mings, musician Tom Grennan, comedians Iain Stirling, Jon Richardson and Seann Walsh, YouTuber Joe Sugg and fitness coach Bradley Simmonds.

Simon Gunning, chief executive of CALM, said: "Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people need CALM and our services more than ever before. We know that lockdown has been incredibly tough, so we wanted to do something that would give people a fun evening and help take their mind off everything else that’s happening at the moment – even if just for a few moments – whilst also raising awareness of the CALM services that can be an added support when life gets tough."

9.45am: Bauer hosts pan-European 'house party'

Bauer Media is bringing together seven of its stations across Europe to host a five-hour house party on 30 May in an attempt to unite audiences "when we all might feel so separate". The brands taking part in #RadioRave are: Kiss FM in the UK, RMF Maxxx in Poland, The Voice in Denmark, NRJ in Sweden, Kiss in both Norway and Finland, and Radio Express in Slovakia.

Paul Keenan, Bauer Media's president of audio, said: "Radio’s resilience, flexibility and agility have proven vital during the pandemic, allowing us and our customers to continue communicating to audiences and uniting them at a time when we all might feel so separate.

"We are excited to unite all of our audio businesses across Europe for the very first time with #RadioRave, providing our dance-music-loving listeners a show that highlights everything they want from radio – joy, entertainment, community and the world’s best DJs."

Monday 18 May

3.30pm: Local TV offers free airtime to SMEs

Local TV, which runs TV channels in cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Liverpool, is offering free airtime to local businesses that a spokesman said was worth "approaching £1m".

The operator has signed up 80 advertisers and is in discussion with 500 more.

Local TV said it has seen viewership of its local news content increase by 88% since February across the network and in April had an average daily audience across the network of 355,000, with 73,000 daily viewers in Birmingham – up 96%.

2pm: When Pokémon goes IRL

Ben da Costa, executive creative director at Now, has created a game for children to play in his local park.

Instead of letting his children Pokémon Go on their phones, da Costa printed out images of Pokémon, laminated them and went with his sons to hide them in Mountsfield Park in Lewisham, London. He told ITV News that other local kids had also been enjoying looking for the pocket monsters.

11.15am: Sport sponsorship to lose third of value in 2020

Sport will lose $17.2bn (£14.2bn) worldwide in 2020 in sponsorship rights fees, according to projections by WPP sports marketing agency Two Circles.

Two Circles forecast 2020's total spend to fall 37% to $28.9bn. Last year's total of $46.1bn was up 4% on 2018.

The biggest absolute fall in spend will come from financial services – by far the biggest investor in sport sponsorship last year. In 2020, its spend is set to fall 45% from $12.6bn to $6.9bn. Automotive – which last year was the second-biggest sector at $5.9bn – will cut more than half (55%) of its spend, falling to $2.7bn.

Gareth Balch, chief executive of Two Circles, said: "Though every corner of sport is hurting, we remain certain that sport’s economy will thrive in the long term, and when the impending recession bottoms out, all sectors will rely on the best marketing platforms available to grow their businesses.

"The sports properties that use this period to invest in their sponsorship propositions, moving away in particular from analogue-led logo exposure to digitally driven, tangible audience engagement, will be those that thrive most post-Covid-19."

10.30am: John Hegarty and Richard Reed create protective equipment for businesses

Sir John Hegarty has partnered Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed to launch a kit that provides businesses with a range of medically curated protective equipment and products. StoBox was developed by medical experts to support companies as they begin to return to the workplace.

Hegarty, co-founder of The Garage and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, led on branding and product development. He said: "A hundred and fifty years ago, Florence Nightingale showed the world how to deal with infection. She put hygiene at its centre, proving it saved lives and reduced trauma. For that reason, Florence Nightingale has been the inspiration behind the design and concept of StoBox, supporting businesses in being prepared when the risk of spreading germs arises.

"We’ve called it StoBox to reflect that it should always be stored safely in your office or home, and the nightingale which sits central to the branding reminds us of our inspiration, Florence Nightingale."

10am: 18-24s increase use of audio, Twitch and Snapchat in past two weeks

Young people's media consumption habits are moving towards audio, Twitch and Snapchat in the past two weeks.

The latest research from Havas Media Group’s Covid-19 Media Behaviours Report, which surveyed 1,500 people, found that 18- to 24-year-olds are listening to more podcasts and the radio, up 12% and 3% since the last study was carried out.

When it comes to social media, there is a 6% increase in those claiming to be using Twitch more than they did before the outbreak and a 4% rise in the use of Snapchat. There has been a fall in use of TikTok (down 4%) and Instagram (down 3%).

See the previous week's developments


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