Following the address on Sunday, May 10 by the Prime Minister where he outlined his conditional plan to ease the COVID-19 lockdown, Advertising Association Chief Executive Stephen Woodford has issued the following statement.
“The Prime Minister’s statement yesterday evening showed the hard journey ahead before we will approach normality again. As our projections on adspend for the year ahead also showed, we are in for a very difficult few quarters in advertising, but I am 100% confident in our creative and entrepreneurial abilities to see this crisis through. Returning to work is not going to be easy or simple. Our colleagues and companies in ours and every other industry will have to navigate the rules to operate in a socially distanced way and adhere to new regulations. Keeping people safe will remain the top priority, balanced with supporting businesses and the economy. We are expecting more from government here, such as the phased reduction of the furloughing scheme beyond the end of June, critical to avoid a cliff-edge situation for employers and furloughed staff alike. We are also exploring how a tax credit for advertising could help, at the right point, to kickstart our economy again and support growth and jobs.
“The nature of this crisis means we will all have to consider our own personal exit plans from lockdown and there are multiple factors in play. From the suitability of workplaces to work safely and effectively to the choice of transport to and from work. Some are even more personal – our own health conditions or those of people within the same household, or the shifts in childcare as the reopening of schools is planned. It seems, wherever possible and practical, our industry should continue to work from home where it can. There are particular sectors though which cannot, for example advertising production and market research. These are being asked to work in a way that conforms to Government advice. We are working with stakeholders and officials to make sure this information is as clear and comprehensive as possible.
“In addition to how we operate as an industry in our offices, studios, and on set, we will also have a responsibility to carefully reflect this new way of living in the work we create. Advertising will need to represent the ‘new normal’ for people and communities in the campaigns over the coming weeks and months. I know we will rise to this challenge using all the creative ingenuity that has already been evident during through this crisis, where great work has helped us all to make some sense of this new enforced way of living and reinforced the strong sense of community and togetherness we all feel.”