Advertising Week Europe postponed over coronavirus concerns

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Advertising Week Europe has become the latest event to be disrupted by the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak that’s spread across the world, disrupting major events across industries. The four-day event, due to kick off in London on Mar. 16, will be postponed until Sept. 14, 2020, several industry sources told Digiday.

Spokespeople for Stillwell Partners, the event’s organizers, did not initially respond to a request for comment in time for publication. The company later released a notice on its website, confirming the plan to move the festivities back to September, “given the growing concerns over public health and safety due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.”

Starting next week, the company still plans to run videos, podcast and articles featuring Advertising Week Europe speakers, the company said.

The news of Advertising Week Europe’s postponement comes just days after Austin’s South by Southwest media, tech and music festival was canceled owing to coronavirus concerns. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a news conference on Mar. 6 he had been forced to declare a local disaster in the city.

A number of global business events and conferences have been canceled, postponed or shifted to being held online, owing to potential safety concerns. Cancellations include Mobile World Congress, which was due to be held in Barcelona in February, and TV event MipTV, which was scheduled to take place in Cannes later this month. Elsewhere, Facebook and Google have also canceled the in-person components of their annual developer events. (Digiday has postponed its Digiday Publishing Summit, schedule for later this month in Vail, Colorado, to a date in the summer.)

Advertising Week Europe 2020 speakers had included WPP CEO Mark Read; Facebook vp EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn; and Harry’s vp Matt Hiscock.

U.S.-based Stillwell Partners also organizes other events including Advertising Week New York, due to take place from Oct. 5-8; Advertising Week Asia, set for Tokyo on May 26-28; and Advertising Week LATAM, which went ahead as scheduled from Mar. 3-5 in Mexico.

The coronavirus has sent extraordinary tremors across myriad industries the world over, disrupting markets, travel and everyday life in many countries. The global number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, surpassed 100,000 on Mar. 7, according to The World Health Organization.

Companies, including those in the advertising and media sectors, have restricted employee travel and encouraged remote work and meetings. Meanwhile, global advertisers have made cuts to sales forecasts and look set to pause advertising plans as they assess the the ongoing situation.

This article was updated on Mar. 10 to include the official statement from Advertising Week Europe’s organizers.

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