Time Out pivots to 'Time In' as it closes global food markets

The media brand's quick-thinking is keeping it relevant amid COVID-19.

It’s a company with the sole mission to get people out of their homes and explore.

So when a global pandemic makes it near impossible to do that, the brand’s got to think fast to stay relevant.

Time Out has U-turned itself to become "Time In" with a drive that encourages people to adhere to expert advice and lay low amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

"This is an unprecedented situation and this is tough for everyone, particularly a company whose name is Time OUT," group CEO Julio Bruno told Campaign US. "Our teams worldwide have been responding at breakneck speed, updating everything from content to logos and social media. 

"We all need to help one another. What will not change is Time Out's dedication to the cities we champion and love. If you’re going out or staying in right now, we are with you."

Time In has launched the "Love Local" campaign to support independent venues which will arguably be hit the hardest by this pandemic. 

Bruno said the drive is to "show empathy and support for local venues, whether or not people are able to go out to them. We’ll step that up when our cities bounce back and our beloved local favourites are thriving again."

It comes as the media company temporarily closes its Markets around the world. This time last year, Time Out was powering ahead to construct multiple open-air food bazaars after the immense success of the Lisbon, Portugal Market opened back in May 2014. Now this and all new U.S. locations are officially shut until further notice. 

Bruno explained: "After closely monitoring the latest developments, this very difficult decision was taken following updates from both health authorities and local government. 

"More importantly, the decision was taken in the best interests of public health and in order to prioritise the wellbeing and safety of our guests, employees, their families, concessionaires and their teams, as well as the wider community. We are all looking forward to reopening when it is safe and to once again welcome our guests to Time Out Market."

The CEO said the Hong Kong and Singapore teams went to a work from home policy in February and -- encouragingly -- returned to the office a few weeks later after a successful containment. It’s a trend the advertising and marketing industry is starting to see, with ad agency holding company Omnicom stating on Sunday that its APAC region is beginning to get back to business as usual

Last week, Time Out leadership asked the rest of the world’s office-based people to work remotely. 

Bruno said it is not currently possible to quantify the full trading impact of COVID-19, "which will be highly dependent on the duration and severity of the virus and the response by government and consumers."

He added: "More than ever during this time, our top priority remains the health and wellbeing of our teams, partners, readers, guests and communities."

This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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