by MarkLives (@marklives) MarkLives is tracking South African and African brand and ad agency reactions and news related to the covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Updates may be sent to us via our contact form or the email address published on our Contact Us page (opinion pieces/guest columns must be exclusive). Most-recent announcements will be added on top. This is for 23–27 March 2020.

While we have your attention: Please would you consider taking out a MarkLives membership to help finance our operations? The covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on society and industry. With your support, either as a once-off or monthly contribution, we can continue our coverage of its impact on our industry.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Remote-work starter kit by BetterWork

BetterWork has released a Remote Work Starter Kit to cover the people-side of going remote. “So much of the focus has been on gearing up your tech stack that there’s limited focus on supporting the people doing the work — our focus as ever remains on them,” says Vincent Hofmann, BetterWork co-founder.

“The Remote Work Starter Kit has been released into the public commons under the Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike CC license. We hope that this communicates our intent: get something out to help teams and team leaders for free with no money-making agenda.”

The kit is a mix of curated and original techniques to orchestrate remote work and includes:

  • A survey to send to teams
  • A canvas to help teams work through common themes, with prompting questions for each to consider to build a remote-work policy,
  • General patterns which have been observed for each theme to support good work, and
  • A way to experiment with the new way of working.

Also included are templates which will give teams a headstart, such as a Team Rhythm calendar for build a team’s stable routine, an experiment tracker for tracking a portfolio of experiments and facilitator guides for running “awesome” remote meetings.


M&C Saatchi Abel launches staff emergency family fund

Ad agency M&C Saatchi Abel has launched an emergency fund for family of staff members affected by the current lockdown. Staff may motivate for assistance for members of their family facing monetary hardship.

The fund isn’t in place for salaried family members, explains Mike Abel, M&C Saatchi Abel chief executive partner, but for extreme family emergencies, which includes medication or groceries for parents or siblings suddenly unable to afford these. The agency will continue to support small suppliers with business as usual payments (including caterers, maintenance people, freelance security guards and auxiliary services).


Thursday, 26 March 2020

2019 PAMS results now a webinar

Given the imminent government lockdown, the Publisher Research Council’s release of the results of the Publisher Audience Measurement Survey 2019 (PAMS) will now be a webinar using Zoom video-conferencing  on 7 April 2020.

PAMS 2019 offers an interesting picture of South Africa’s consumers and their relationship to brands across the automotive, banking, cellular, food, fashion and furniture categories.

“PAMS2019 is South Africa’s largest income-weighted sample of over 15 000 respondents,” says Josephine Buys, PRC CEO, “with the latest, most-representative sample and survey in South Africa that contains brand information.”

Date: 7 April 2020
Time: 10am–11am
Place: Via Zoom link
Further details:


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

TBWA\SA, Grid Worldwide launch dashboard

TBWA\South Africa and Grid Worldwide have launched a covid-19 dashboard for staff and clients with the intention of showing:

  1. What the current infection state is.
  2. How markets and our key clients are performing.
  3. What the trending consumer and brand actions/topics are.

Explains Luca Gallarelli, TBWA\SA GCEO, “To help support our teams and clients (or anyone for that matter), dealing with the business and brand impact, during and post covid-19, we wanted to create a simple tool to help gauge sentiment and sense check our actions. We didn’t want to focus on deep storytelling or a wide range of facts. We instead opted for a ‘less but better’ approach — Just enough to get a sense of where things are at, and how your actions contribute positively.

“Our hope is that, by providing relevant information in the following key areas, we can check our responses and play a role that supports the challenge responsibly.”

Find the dashboard here.


Engineering News & Mining Weekly suspends print during lockdown

Engineering News & Mining Weekly won’t be printing editions dated 27 March, 3 April, 10 April and 17 April 2020. These will, however, continue to be published in e-magazine format. The company plans to resume printing the magazines from 24 April and will keep all readers and subscribers informed of developments during this time.


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

All restaurants to close, no takeout, food-delivery service allowed

“In addition, in compliance with the [nationwide] lockdown, ALL food delivery services will also need to be suspended for 21 days with effect from midnight Thursday, 26 March 2020 until midnight Thursday, 16 April 2020.” — Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, minister of tourism.

Government has clarified rules for all restaurants in the country during the nationwide lockdown which goes into effect from midnight, Thursday, 26 March 2020, until midnight Thursday, 16 April 2020.

In compliance with the nationwide lockdown, it should be noted that all restaurants, cafes, bars, coffee shops will be required to comply with the nationwide lockdown for 21 days. Such service providers haven’t been included on the list of what’s been deemed essential services during the lockdown, won’t be permitted to operate and will need to be closed.

This affects all restaurants, take aways, QSEs, canteens and any hospitality food establishments in South Africa, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has further clarified. Deliveries, takeaways and home deliveries are all affected. No exceptions are being made for any type of food service to continue to trade.

We had temporarily removed this story while verifying the information supplied with the Department of Tourism. And here it is. — The Editors.


Virgin Active closes all gyms


Nu Metro closes until further notice


Loeries, Constitution Hill call for creative solutions

Based on the principle that now, more than ever, the world needs brave creativity to keep it thriving, the Loeries and Constitution Hill — the venue for this year’s Loeries Creative Week, scheduled for September — have challenged the brand communication industry to come up with proactive ideas to help alleviate critical problems currently facing society. This is as the covid-19 pandemic takes a foothold across Africa and the Middle East.

Potential campaigns include ideas to prevent consumers from stockpiling, helping to deliver remote-education solutions, raising awareness of staying safe while using public transport, delivering care and food to the elderly in isolation and helping people who’re struggling with isolation.

Individuals in brand communication from across the region may choose a brief from and send their solutions to Brands will fund the bravest ideas to help raise funds to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

See also


Monday, 23 March 2020

Spar apologises for posters saying people should avoid contact with pets


VMLY&R SA on positive attitude while in isolation

“It’s been a week since we sent our people home, overnight becoming a company with 250 remote offices. A lot has been written about the productivity levels of remote workers being higher than that of office workers. At the moment our people are energised and as passionate about their work as ever, but we’d be foolish not to recognise that we need to help them maintain a positive attitude while in isolation.” Read how ad agency, VMLY&R South Africa, is trying to achieve this on its blog.


Standard Bank announces SME payment relief

Standard Bank will provide payment relief to business clients with a turnover of under R20m for 90 days starting 1 April 2020. Find all the details here.


Emirates to continue flying to SA (for now)

“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries reopen their borders, and travel confidence returns,” says Emirates in a statement to the media. “By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”

Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand: the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada. The situation remains dynamic, and travellers may check flight status on


Tsogo Sun “deactivating” 36 hotels

Tsogo Sun Hotels is “deactivating” of a number of hotels in the key nodes where the group has multiple properties and consolidating the available demand into the remaining operating hotels in those areas. The first phase will affect up to 36 hotels, representing 7 700 rooms (or 40%) of the group’s portfolio over the next few weeks.

While we have your attention: Please would you consider taking out a MarkLives membership to help finance our operations? The covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on society and industry. With your support, either as a once-off or monthly contribution, we can continue our coverage of its impact on our industry.


See also


MarkLives logoThis MarkLives #CoronavirusSA special section contains coverage of how the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and its resultant disease, covid-19, is affecting the advertising, marketing and related industries in South Africa and other parts of Africa, and how we are responding. Updates may be sent to us via our contact form or the email address published on our Contact Us page. Opinion pieces/guest columns must be exclusive.

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