And so the return to a much-trailed new normality begins.
Non-essential shops have reopened. Premier League football has kicked off, albeit behind closed doors. Pubs are dusting down their glasses. Hairdressers sharpening their scissors. Office doors warily reopening.
We are miles from how things used to be and, of course, we’ll never quite go back there again. But some of the old patterns are beginning to re-emerge and it’s natural to find reassurance in them.
Except we all know that this isn't it. This isn't really the beginning of a new normal, but the beginning of an immunology waiting game. A game that ends only when a vaccine is found. Only then will new patterns of normality be able to truly establish themselves. Until then, we are improvising in a waiting room off the main event.
Pandemics come in many forms. Of the 40 biggest contagions in the past 2,000 years, Coronavirus the Third (after Sars and Mers) is unlikely to get far into the top 20. It’s probably a few places above the Asian flu pandemic of 1957-58 that reportedly caused about 33,000 excess deaths in the UK and a global death toll of 1.1 million. The toll might have been far greater in the UK, but a vaccine was found relatively quickly and was speedily administered by our brilliant NHS.
So, although the damage caused by Covid-19 is colossal, its fatality rate is not on the same scale as the Antonine Plague, the Plague of Justinian, the Black Death, the American plagues, Spanish flu or HIV/Aids. It is closer in scale to the outbreak of 1957-58.
So what are the implications for brands during this great interregnum?
Charles is a brand strategist who began his advertising apprenticeship at Burkitt’s, working subsequently at BBH and WCRS. In 2002 he decided to start working for himself and, along with his three partners (Rooney Carruthers, Adrian Coleman and Ian Priest), set up VCCP. Their founding client was O2, to whom they are eternally grateful. Over the last two decades, Charles has worked on and, in some cases, helped launch a diverse range of brands including O2, ING, Hiscox, easyJet, Canon, Cadbury, Domino's, Dyson, Nationwide, and Vitality.
Outside of work Charles doggedly pursues a variety of sports including cricket, tennis, football, golf, shooting and snooker, all at a consistently low standard. Charles is a Trustee for both The Change Foundation and The Fred Foundation and is co-author of a book called The Branded Gentry.