You may already have seen our "Coronavirus FAQs for advertisers", setting out guidance on how to reference Covid-19 in advertising - if not, it's worth a look. In the article we discuss some of the dos and don'ts, giving examples of how some unscrupulous businesses have sought to take advantage of consumers as well as highlighting the action taken by the ASA in response.
So with this in mind it's refreshing to see some examples of good advertising in these uncertain times.
Yesterday, sandwich and coffee chain Pret announced that it is offering free coffee to NHS workers, plus 50% off everything else* (*subject to certain terms and conditions of course!).
With the NHS on the frontline of the current health crisis, it's a good example of how brands can show they care and are doing their part, without praying on the fears and paranoia that have driven many to queue for hours outside supermarkets. The cynical might say that this sort of promotion is not entirely altruistic - it clearly does no harm to the brand and customer loyalty - but at a time when businesses are really struggling with cashflow, it shouldn't be dismissed so lightly and, let's face it, we need all the good cheer we can get at the moment.
We will no doubt continue to see good and bad advertising and marketing activity over the next few months and we will continue to highlight the best - and the worst - examples as they arise.
Update: All Pret stores in the UK were closed on Saturday, 21 March until the current pandemic is over.