Coronavirus live blog: The impact on PR and comms

PRWeek UK will keep you updated on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting the PR and communications industry.

Coronavirus live blog: The impact on PR and comms


• Publicis Groupe's organic revenue has fallen 23.5 per cent in Europe, but CEO Arthur Sadoun says the business has 'strong fundamentals to weather the crisis'. More here


• 'Even a campaign with no budget can force a government U-turn' – Behind the Campaign with Quash Quarantine.

Banks are on the cusp of a reputational re-rating by the public: they must not blow it. Comment from Headland director Del Jones.


• Believe it or not, the pandemic is a perfect time to set up a new agency. That's according to Threepipe co-founder Jim Hawker. 

• A new Paddy Power campaign starring brand ambassador Peter Crouch shows 'the world’s most COVID-compliant football party’ – with fans celebrating in self-contained 'hamster balls'.

• "Redundancy communication: compassion and clarity, not a thesaurus, are vital" – comment from Tim Toulmin, MD of crisis comms specialist Alder.

• Brands should adapt their messaging to consumers' heightened and changing emotions instead of reverting back to their pre-COVID-19 ways of communicating, research by Twitter has found.


• What's it like launching a new comms agency during the pandemic? We speak to four people who did just that, in the latest edition of PRWeek's podcast series The PR Show. One of the key messages is that recessions are a great time to launch an 'agile' comms agency as - it is argued - big, established players struggle to change quickly.

• There's a new name at the top of the latest Mergermarket table that ranks PR agencies by the value of M&A deals handled globally in the first half of 2020. Research from Mergermarket shows the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has impacted financial PR agencies in terms of the volume and value of deals overseen in H1.

• PRWeek UK launches two new awards today, one celebrating the best in healthcare and pharma comms, and the other recognising outstanding achievements in corporate and financial PR and public affairs. Both have categories focused on communications during the coronavirus pandemic.


• Comms directors for Dove, the British Olympic Association, Just Eat, and the UK Government are among the speakers at PRWeek’s biggest annual conference, PR360, which takes place online in the second week of September. Find out more, including how to buy tickets, here


• Hanover Communications and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) have launched a ‘repurposing offer’ to help business leaders adapt their corporate purpose in a post-COVID world. More here


• Power grab or rationalisation? The Government is planning a huge reduction in comms personnel. Find out more here


• How (if at all) will the COVID-19 crisis change the PR industry? That was one question asked of the PRWeek UK 30 Under 30 for 2020 - read their views on that and a host of other issues as we publish their profiles today. The coronavirus is also a topic of discussion for the inaugural 30 Under 30: Newcomers.


• From the editor-in-chief: ‘I want my staff back in the office by September’ – the divisive question of the Big Return to Work.

Flop of the Month – Novak Djokovic serves up COVID-19 infections in error-strewn display.


• Our objective was mass reach' - Behind the Campaign, 'Keeping Us Connected During COVID-19' for Openreach.


• PR professionals should prepare for the public to be "less forgiving" of organisations as the coronavirus pandemic enters a new phase.


• “We’re worth it" – PR agencies, don't start a price war on fees. Talker Tailor Trouble Maker's co-founder Steve Strickland pleads to the industry in this comment piece.

• M&C Saatchi said its trading results for April and May "were not quite as severe" as first expected, as it seeks additional funding amid the coronavirus crisis.


• All Zoomed out: why it's time to call time on 'overcommunication'

• The campaign to launch the "world’s first social-distancing deo" – a Lynx and Marmite combination – has secured more than 150 pieces of coverage, including a segment on Good Morning Britain on Friday. More on the campaign, by W Communications, here


• "Communications to this sector should have been a high priority. It wasn’t" – PRWeek UK canvassed experts from hospitality/leisure/hotels to find out how the big 'reopening' will work, from a comms perspective, and how government comms has helped (or hindered) the sector...


• Exclusive: The Italian Tourist Board has appointed a new agency to help drive tourism from the UK as the country attempts to recover from the COVID-19 epidemic.

• "COVID-19 has had profound consequences for PR professionals at the start their careers, but we will be the first port of call for businesses and leaders when the next crisis comes" – comment by Finsbury associate Theo Davies-Lewis.

• How has the public’s view of different media changed during the coronavirus crisis? That's one question that will be posed to a panel of experts at PRWeek's online Crisis Communications conference, which takes place next Tuesday (30 June).


To open the doors to staff or not: that is the question for agencies – comment from Hope&Glory joint MD Anna Terrell.

• Two-thirds of major brands do not feel confident running a fully remote pitch process, despite half saying that this is a good time to review the set-up of their agency rosters. More findings from a new Creativebrief survey here.

Why the UK Government's track-and-trace app was doomed to fail, and why it has come as a huge surprise... to absolutely no one in the UK tech sector.


• "Greggs is always a win!" - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week, curated by Down At The Social's Daisy Whitehouse.

• "Returning to the office has been an unalloyed pleasure" – Maitland/AMO chief executive Neil Bennett reflects on how working patterns will forever change, but nothing substitutes the buzz and creative spirit that is found in an office.


From the editor-in-chief: the return of sport is an emotional boost, but firms are eyeing 50 per cent revenue drops and job cuts.

• Exclusive: 'Quash Quarantine' campaigners have called for transparency after the Government defended its policy.

• "The public are casualties in the hostile relationship between the Government and media", comments Julian Samways, managing director of JPES Partners.


• Charity to support NHS workers during COVID-19 hires PR agency to 'extensive' brief

• PRWeek commissioned exclusive data from a social analytics firm to discover which government departments have been most effective at using social media so far during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed one of it's first significant agency casualties, with sport and fitness-focused Promote PR sadly being forced to close after 26 years, citing the impact of recent trading conditions.


• 'Three days to get the world clubbing from home' - PRWeek goes Behind the Campaign with Defected Virtual Festival.


• 'Show empathy' – As football returns in England, clubs need to provide the right support to players and coaching staff over the risk of coronavirus. Four sports marketing experts have their say on how clubs should handle comms.

A campaign to ‘quash quarantine’ rules is having remarkable results, with greater longevity in the news cycle than Dominic Cummings. PRWeek’s latest podcast explores further.


• “If you can’t laugh about your job, you must be a hostage negotiator, or very dull at dinner parties” – Seven comedy sketches about PR to keep you laughing in lockdown.


• Necessity is the mother of invention for cultural comms during COVID-19, writes Nina Plowman.

Finsbury has launched a new service to help businesses handle the comms challenges surrounding the return of workforces to offices, following an extended period of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

• Remote-teaching platform Teacherly has hired a new UK PR agency for a COVID-19 campaign, with a brief to position the brand as the leader in collaborative lesson planning in the UK.

• "We've achieved about six billion in terms of PR reach" – The Big Issue has entirely changed its model due to the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more about its digital makeover here.


• The coronavirus is hitting BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) marcomms and media professionals more than their white counterparts in terms of pay and career prospects. That's according to new research for People Like Us, the networking group for minority ethnic professionals in media and marcomms. Click here for more.

• WPP CEO Mark Read has talked about how non-advertising services like public relations have fared better during coronavirus pandemic, and how the holding company plans to make agile working practices permanent. More here

• "In the words of Madonna: music makes the people come together. This year has taught us that pandemics do, too." Can brands show Pride without a parade this year?


• Oil company BP is to cut back its global communications and advocacy team as part of wider plans to make 10,000 redundancies globally.


• A £52m legal claim has been made against Hiscox Insurance after it rejected business interruption claims by businesses, including PR agency Media Zoo, affected by the coronavirus.

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