Columnists in association withLBB Pro

Lockdown 2 is Like The Godfather 2

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
The UK’s second Covid-19 lockdown is thankfully not hitting commercials production anywhere near as hard as the first, writes Steve Davies, chief executive of the APA
Yes, the sequel is better than the original. OK, we all may be a little more fed up with it but it hasn’t stopped commercials production like Lockdown 1 did.

Good news of course as our central aim is to keep production going.

It has always been legal and permissible to shoot commercials in the UK in studios and locations - commercials production was never prescribed as a must-close business - but it did largely stop from March to May, the first part of Lockdown 1 and for understandable reasons:
- We were unsure how dangerous the virus was and how infectious. Few people wanted to risk getting it and even fewer wanted to expose  anyone they were employing risk.
- Everyone was grappling with what this new world meant and for advertisers that meant thinking about whether and what they should be marketing to who, if at all, so it took them some time to weigh that up.
- There was no guidance to follow on safety for Covid shoots.

The Government published some rules and parameters and on May 11th, working with health and safety experts First Option and health and safety lawyers, Osborne Clarke, we published the APA Covid-19 Shooting Guidelines.

We worked with the client body, ISBA and the IPA to create the Tripartite addendum too, a bold move by clients to underwrite Covid related postponement and cancellation costs. 

Gradually commercials production picked up and by early August it was in something resembling full swing. That means, as we approach the end of November, that we have seen work over a significant periods.

Throughout that time we have been nervous though. Clients have been anxious - understandably so with their underwriting the financial risk of a Covid postponement or cancellation and the return of Covid.

We have been able to reassure them that they can shoot - none of the new restrictions have affected that - and they have carried on.

They have gained confidence from every successful production and the work of production companies and agencies to make sure - even when Covid affects a shoot - that it doesn’t get cancelled. 

This time too, the studios, most locations, lighting and camera companies have all stayed open - again they have the confidence of the Guidelines and of the proof of successful and safe productions. 

So production is continuing apace through Lockdown 2. That is good news but we know it could change at any moment – we don’t know what Covid might bring, as we saw with the sudden shut down of Denmark because of the mink farms we have never heard of before - so we can be confident based on the response of advertisers, agencies and production companies to date but wary.

Let’s hope we avoid Lockdown 3 though. The Godfather didn’t need a second sequel and neither do we.

Work from Advertising Producers Association