Brands have found a new advertising platform, and it goes right across our mouths.
Face masks have become essential items in the pandemic, with many cities in the U.S. enforcing their use and the CDC encouraging people to wear face coverings when they go out in public. For some, face masks are even becoming fashion or statement pieces.
At first, selling fashionable masks was deemed bad taste, a source of misinformation and a way to make a quick buck off the pandemic. ASOS was one retailer that quickly pulled ads for its fashionable chainmail face masks, even though they were meant as fashion statements, mainly for music festivals. Facebook and Google initially banned ads for face masks, a decision eventually reversed. Brands like Hershey, Nike and Gap began making masks for healthcare workers.
Now the climate is changing. A number of fashion brands like Madewell, J. Crew and Banana Republic have developed their own fashion-forward masks in signature patterns and colors and are seeing them sell out in record time.
Others are going a step further by placing their brand names or logos directly on new masks and selling them online, or working with licensing companies to sell custom branded masks.
You can now rep your favorite NBA, NFL, NHL or MLS teams with masks, support your favorite musician with Universal Music Group’s line of face masks or show off your fashion sense with Alice + Olivia’s character logo spread across your mouth. A number of bands and small businesses are also selling their own face masks online that don’t shy away from promoting their companies. Many are selling out fast.
“Anything we can do to celebrate and destigmatize the wearing of facemasks—either by making them more fashionable or more fun—the more we incentivize and normalize adoption,” says Jason Musante, global chief creative officer at Huge, who is currently working with a client on rolling out a line of “fun and fashionable face-coverings.” “The more we embrace this new normal, the more lives we'll save.”
In most cases, all or part of the proceeds from sales are going toward COVID-19 relief efforts and brands are making sure to state that their masks are not meant for healthcare professionals and not intended to replace personal protective equipment (PPE). After all, these items are more fashion accessories than safety measures.
Licensing suppliers also see their opening and are promoting their services across platforms. Promo Motive, for instance, shows an image of a mask with a Nike logo next to its pricing: masks with logos go for $1.98 each with a 10,000 order. Michael Lewis, CEO of licensor FOCO, told Licensing International that he estimates that four to six billion masks will be produced and sold in the next 12 months.
These 13 companies have branded masks already on the market: