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Call to Arms - How Brands Have Pivoted to Making/Advertising Face Masks

May 22 2020 by Matthew Bozin

Nearly four months into the Covid-19 health crisis, the world has re-shaped itself in many respects. And while you can’t turn on the news anymore without a Covid-related story, there is also so much good happening.

One instance in particular: brands pivoting from their primary products, to create face masks for the general public, as well as healthcare workers on the frontlines. In early-March, as Federal and State officials squabbled over severe shortages of PPE (personal protective equipment), the health care systems started to see the full force of patients, being overwhelmed with inadequate equipment, especially face masks. This prompted many Governors to appeal to the private sector for help. And when many states began ordering mandatory face masks for people leaving their homes, industry started to heed the call. What seemed like overnight, several companies began pivoting from their normal production to creating face masks, many offering to donate a mask to health care workers, for each one purchased off their site.

Using Pathmatics Explorer, we found several brands advertising their face masks with new creatives, accompanying increased ad spend – and they might not be the companies you would expect?

Apparel Brands

Clothing companies seemed the easiest to convert their production lines, as we found brands Vera Bradley and Bella and Canvas were quick to launch new creatives, as well as local, Los Angeles-based PAIGE, and online retailers, Brave New Look and Donna Jo, Inc.

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And, with many of the new ads containing calls to action, like "Shop Now" or "Buy Now" just a click away, advertisers increased their spend to get them in front of a waiting consumer-base, as face masks became the newest hot commodity - Brave New Look toping the list with a 200% increase from March through April.

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Surprise Pivots

With Clothing advertisers as the obvious "first responders" to retrofit their production lines, other companies began jumping into the fold as well. Specialty brand Vista Print, known for products from business cards to handbags and stationary, stepped up, advertising a new line of face masks, with creatives touting 10% of their profits would go to support local businesses impacted by the pandemic. And for those pet enthusiasts, Cuddle Clones, an online supplier of products to print your furriest friend on, released a new creative displaying pet themed face masks, and an offer to give a portion of every mask sale to a shelter in need.

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A Cut Above the Rest

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While most companies understandably advertised the sale of their masks, Pathmatics Explorer did find one company that took a decidedly different approach. Tieks by Gavriele, an online seller of ballet shoes began sewing their own face masks, not 
for sale, but for distribution to hospitals in the Los Angeles area.
Going a step 

further, Tieks then challenged their online community to do the same, offering a $50 gift card to anyone who stitches 25 masks, and $100 gift card for 50 or more masks, mobilizing their shoppers with ads on twitter and the hashtag: #sewTOGETHER.

And with almost 80% of their spend dedicated to facebook, Tieks increased their ad spend five-fold heading into May, to promote their initiative.

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With over 807k masks donated so far, we thought a little special recognition was in order. And, if you'd like to help, click HERE is more information.

As we preserver through the age of Covid-19, and being isolated in our homes, it's nice to know there are companies willing to go the extra mile for one another, and we're proud to offer a little uplifting story...even if it IS a digital insights story. So, stay safe, wear your face masks, and #sewTOGETHER.

About Author

Matthew Bozin

After earning his BS in Communications, Matt cut his teeth in the entertainment industry, spending fifteen years writing everything from feature screenplays for A-List directors, to celebrity bios for some of Hollywood’s top actors. That creative drive made it an easy transition to Marketing, bringing his eye for storytelling to the digital advertising ecosystem.

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