Should your brand create branded face masks?

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Our Iowa Hawkeyes face masks.

Some states, businesses and schools are requiring face masks to be worn. Before the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, I’ve seen people wear face masks on planes but they were rare. Today, it’s more common. That also creates the question: Should brands create branded face masks?

Marketing Executive Jeanniey Walden
joined me on the Business Storytelling Podcast to discuss this topic. You can listen wherever you listen to podcasts or below:

Some notes and soundbites from Jeanniey:

As face masks become more common people will also align the masks they wear with their own brand. If you have a Louis Vuitton bag you might also want a Louis Vuitton mask. If you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan you might want a Steelers mask. That’s an opportunity for brands.

Types of branded face masks:



  • Novelty (like a Cape May mask – similar to a T-shirt)
  • Extended wear and safety  (like for healthcare workers)
  • Retail luxury (Jeanniey reports having seen special face masks for weddings costing as much as $400)

Branded face masks are one of the hottest gimmicks out there.

Consider sending out branded face masks as part of your marketing or business development strategy.

Examples of brands that are creating masks include American Eagle, Gap and companies are focusing on comfort, which is especially necessary when people wear the face masks for extended periods of time.

Once people attend in-person conferences or events again that they have to travel to by plane branded face masks are a better giveaway than hand sanitizer that’s branded. There’s a limit how many hand sanitizer bottles you can take on a plane.

How to decide if your brand needs a branded face mask

Jeanniey mentioned that face masks likely will be with us for 6-12 months. Children will ask for face masks from their favorite brands and professionals will try to match their face masks to their outfit.

There are plenty of face masks that can be bought on Amazon and a lot of people – based on my observation wear one-time use face masks.

A friend of mine made Iowa Hawkeyes face masks for us (picture above). We got these early on during the pandemic when few were talking about face masks and nobody was in a huff about wearing or not wearing them.

First, I asked on Twitter what people thought. Here are the answers:

Twitter poll branded face masks

Sixty-two percent voted that yes branded face masks are okay and brands should be creative. Seven percent said “no way” and 31 percent said that it depends.

Ask these questions to determine whether or not your brand should create branded face masks:

  • Are face masks on brand for us?
  • Would people wear them?
  • If yes, should they be simply branded, witty, or something else?

Also will your target audience even wear them? Do they want them? Face masks for a sports team make sense to a degree. A branded face mask displaying the Kohl’s logo maybe not. Or maybe for some?

What are some examples of branded face masks?

Jeanniey mentioned classy Jaguars masks. Tom Brady was spotted wearing an Under Armor one.

One negative about face masks is that you can’t see people’s smiles. So some of vanity face mask now have smiling mouths on them.

Cranky Flier created on-brand face mask: “Remove for Biscoff only.” In other words: Remove only when eating the cookie they serve on planes.

 

AdWeek reported and Joe Morris shared this face mask with me that was created by a hard seltzer and allows you to drink without removing the mask.

 

Asics is releasing a high-tech face mask for runners.

Others involve sports teams, colleges and other witty sayings. High school branded face masks have been spotted in the wild as well.

Jeanniey predicts that many consumer brands will create branded face masks.

Branded face masks for fundraiserHow about branded face masks as fundraisers?

When it comes to high school face masks, I’ve seen a number of those types being sold as part of a fundraiser for the high school.

That’s of course an idea for any nonprofit – especially in these tough times. Is there a campaign that might be worthwhile around branded face masks.

For example: United Way long has handed out Live United T-shirts. Why not create a Live United face mask or find another slogan or cause.

Branded face masks conclusion

Branded face masks are worth considering but keep in mind whether or not they will work for your brand in a positive way. The last thing we’d want is for people to post them to social media and tell everyone that the brand is tone deaf or out of touch with what’s going on.

For more guidance and thoughts watch our discussion below:



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