Mucinex draws line in the sand and brings World Mask Week to Florida

Not many marketers have gotten behind the global effort, but the Reckitt brand is taking it to a hot spot of COVID-19 and mask resistance

Published On
Aug 14, 2020

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You may not have known it’s World Mask Week, but Mucinex wants to change that—particularly in Florida, where people need plenty of help stopping the spread of COVID-19 and masks have faced a lot of opposition.

The RB (Reckitt Benckiser) brand is one of a few taking a public stand on a sometimes controversial topic, mask wearing, with help from McCann and McCann Health, New York, which commissioned artist Noma Bar to create a series digital and outdoor ads. "We know factually there is a lot of information out there in terms of how masks are an enabler to stop the spread of COVID-19," says Claudine Patel, VP of marketing for Mucinex, when asked about its decision. "If you think about what Noma has done, she has made it fairly fun and engaging, where we have a point of view, but it's done in a way that's tactful and respectful."

Mask Week extends through Friday, but not many other marketers have taken up the cause yet. Fox did, however, run a pro-mask public service announcement Monday, appropriately enough during The Masked Singer, where the network encouraged people to “keep it on” in contrast to the “take it off” chant that happens during the show.

“Back to normal is up to you” is the tagline of Mucinex’s campaign, which notes that getting back to birthday parties, hairdresser visits, cruises, offices and coffee with friends depends on controlling the disease through mask wearing.

Florida has been among the hottest of hot spots for COVID-19. Though it recently has made some progress, the state still has an implied number of daily infections of nearly 6,000, according to rt.live.

The state also has been a hot spot of mask resistance. Gov. Ron DeSantis declined to issue a statewide mask mandate. The Marion County Sheriff on Tuesday banned deputies and visitors from wearing masks. And one Floridian at a June state hearing famously said mask advocates “want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out.”

Credit: Mucinex

But Mucinex is literally drawing a line in the sand in Florida. Besides the art from Bar, the brand has commissioned local sand artists to create giant mask sand sculptures, starting Aug. 13, on Ft. Lauderdale’s Lago Mar Beach; then, next week in St. Petersburg Beach; and, the week of Aug. 24 at Jacksonville’s Neptune Beach.

The mask campaign extends a global effort by RB and Mucinex, whose first two efforts focused on hand washing and social distancing.

“Everything we do at Mucinex is informed by science and data,” says Patel. “We’ve been talking about how do we continue to be a helper and make sure we continue to leverage science in the best way.”

Mucinex is beyond just fronting the campaign. COVID-19 increased sales of cough-cold products in the U.S., at least in the early going, and mask wearing may also inhibit spread of colds and flu that ultimately drive sales for the country’s top cough-cold brand.

“We’re in the business of helping people,” Patel says. “We believe that, more so than business, that we make sure we help where we can and think about consumers first.”

Credit: Mucinex