Medialab May Trends Tracker

Medialab May Trends Tracker

Welcome to Medialab’s May Trends Tracker. Notwithstanding the threat of variant B.1.617.2, it feels good to take a tentative step towards recovery. The vaccine programme is working, the government’s four tests for Step 3 easing of restrictions have been met and, as of Monday, bars, museums, and cinemas can re-open for indoor business.

With each step of the easing of lockdown, audience behaviours adjust, brands respond and media pricing and availability change. In this tracker we look at two areas:

  • Recent data on audience attitudes and behaviours, and the responses of some brands.
  • The media market and potential changes to audience channel use and, where possible, advertiser demand and pricing.

Recent data on audience attitudes and behaviours, and relevant brand responses

People are acutely aware that we need a recovery in mental health and employment prospects (according to the Government’s Social Mobility Barometer). Mental Health Awareness Week has just finished, led by Mind and many other organisations sharing and promoting their resources and guidance. H&M have launched a free 24-Hour Suit Rental service, to help those seeking work make a good impression in job interviews.

Half of our non-grocery retail shopping is now online. More brands are adapting their offer to this with ASOS pioneering a partnership with courier DPD to pick up ‘pre-loved’ ASOS clothing and donate it to one of 5 charities. 

And this week’s unlocking will further boost the nation’s mobility. Guinness has toasted the reopening of pubs and bars with a campaign that employed their famous tagline, which felt particularly apt; ‘Good Things Come to Those Who Wait’.

According to Comscore people are focusing on UK travel this summer, with 70% of mobile searches on Expedia for hotel destinations attributed to England (Comscore 7th May).

Many of us are looking to plan our finances for the longer-term (MailMetroMedia Survey April 2021), and we are more concerned than ever about being the victim of financial fraud. The UK’s cybersecurity agency reported taking down more scams in 2020 than in the previous three years combined.

Navigating the post-lockdown media market

2021 will see a strong return to revenue growth in Media – as WARC commented, “The UK ad market is set to accelerate past last year’s decline and back into growth to push past 2019’s high (£25.37 billion) and reach of £26.69 billion.”


The 2021 summer of sports is set to attract audiences and fuel revenue growth. Highlights include: the European Football Championships, the Lions Tour in South Africa, the Olympics and Paralympics, and a host of International Cricket matches.

For advertisers the ability to be agile will be key in delivering effective performance as the interplay between programming, advertiser demand, and audience volumes will create new market conditions.


Post-lockdown freedoms are a welcome change for the OOH market. Mediabridge project that OOH audiences are set to grow across all formats in 2021. Roads are busier, footfall in shopping centres is growing, and transport networks are continuing to build steadily from low bases.


Cinemas re-opened on 17th May with a strong slate of Oscar-winning films. With many studios having delayed release of their big budget films, the silver screen is in no shortage of impressive content. No Time to Die is due to finally reach cinemas on 31st September, and admission numbers will climb throughout the year.


Gaming presents ongoing opportunities for innovation. For example, Fortnite’s most recent brand partner is the Brazilian sandals company, Havaianas. Havaianas has created its own island within the Fortnite world, as well as a line of flip flops incorporating images of well-known elements from the game.

This is a summary from a more detailed COVID Tracker. If you are an advertiser and would like to access the full version, please contact our Integration Director, Nick Parker, at


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