European Travel to U.S. Banned, NBA Season Suspended Due to Coronavirus: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus, Cannes Lions secures backup dates in October

The U.S. is suspending air travel for Europeans flying to the U.S. for 30 days. Getty Images
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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The Latest in Coronavirus Updates from the Advertising and Marketing World—and Beyond

On Wednesday, the World Heath Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic with more than 113 countries reporting cases, throwing the severity of the outbreak into sharp relief for people worldwide. Advocates for the idea of remote work hope the coronavirus response might mark the turning point when agency stigma around the virtual office finally fades. Meanwhile, brands and events are rapidly shifting their plans, rescheduling and adopting more flexible schedules that allow employees to work from home or conduct events virtually.

Here are the latest updates on major events, travel and businesses:

Trump Bans European Travel to U.S. Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

In a rare prime-time Oval-Office address, President Trump announced the U.S. is suspending air travel from Europe to the United States due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus. The suspension of passenger travel, which will go into effect Friday at midnight, will last 30 days and exclude travel from the U.K. U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be exempt from the ban. Read the story here.

Sports World Impacted by Coronavirus: NBA Season Suspended, NCAA Events Go “Fanless”

Following Wednesday’s games, the NBA announced it will suspend the rest of the season after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The result came in shortly before the game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. Consequently, that game was canceled—and the rest of the NBA season was suspended until further notice.

The announcement came after the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the NCAA President Mark Emmert released statements Wednesday announcing that the decision to make all championship games henceforth “fanless,” including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, also known as March Madness. Additionally, the Ivy League canceled all athletics for the remaining of the semester, but will allow Yale to determine whether it will compete in the NCAA tournament.

NBC News, ABC Programming Suspend Live Audiences

NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting today, and New York late night shows will start taping without a studio audience beginning Monday. Per guidance from New York City officials, NBC News will suspend live audiences from its programming starting tomorrow in order to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.

ABC also saw impacts: Citing COVID-19 concerns, Walt Disney Television decided to suspend live audiences from attending its news broadcasts and talk shows for the foreseeable future.

How Would a Shift to October Change the Nature of Cannes Lions?

A few hours prior to the WHO announcement, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity announced Wednesday that it has secured a contingency plan in the event that COVID-19’s spread has not been adequately contained. The festival, which is the advertising world’s highest-profile event, says it will decide no later than April 15 whether to stick with the current dates in June or move to October.

If the festival is moved to October, how will it be different? We polled the agency community for their takes. We found a variety of perspectives, including an October edition of Cannes will be a much-needed break from its usual craziness. Another marketer thinks it’s perfect time for Cannes to rethink the entire festival. Read their perspectives here.

IAB Plans for a Virtual NewFronts

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which organizes the NewFronts, said it would allow and encourage companies to stream their presentations instead of relying only on live, in-person presentations that have long been the NewFronts norm.

NewFronts Presenters Shift Plans to Digital-Only

NewFronts presenters are reevaluating their plans, with several already making the switch to digital-only. YouTube was the first to announce a shift Wednesday with Brandcast, an annual presentation for advertisers that is part of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s NewFronts in New York, which will stream over—where else?—YouTube. Twitter and Meredith followed shortly after with announcements of their own.

More Coronavirus Updates

Keep up with the latest using our coronavirus tracker, which includes event cancellations and other impacts of coronavirus on the advertising and marketing world.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Highlights in Advertising and Marketing

Ad of the Day: A Specially Branded Hand Sanitizer Aims to ‘Stop The Spread’ of Racist Coronavirus Stigma

The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, in partnership with Toronto creative agency The Hive, has a new hand sanitizer that can, as the title of its latest campaign suggests, “Stop The Spread”—of racism associated with coronavirus, that is.

The branded sanitizer.

Agencies Share Their Event Policies With Regard to Coronavirus

“We remain constantly updated on the WHO and Health Departments recommendations on group gatherings. We recognize that different companies have evaluated the risks differently and especially that certain events with larger crowd gatherings present potentially higher risk circumstances. We work with our clients to evaluate these risks, but ultimately the safety of our staff is of paramount importance and we would not ask them to attend an event where they were uncomfortable with the real or perceived risk at that time.”

—Caroline Ruddy, co-founder & COO, RQ

“We are evaluating on a case by case basis for events, as we believe that health risks will always outweigh any potential business benefits for our employees attending. Whether a conference is canceled or a company decides to no longer attend, many in the industry may find that skipping conferences outside of the big, ‘must attend’ events may have little impact on their business. There’s a real possibility that we will see less conferences on the books in 2021 as priorities shift in 2020 to must-attend events.”

—Amanda Martin, VP of Enterprise Partnerships, Goodway Group

More of the Latest

@JessZafarris Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.