How masks are being leveraged as branding tools

Published: Financial Express

Replacing the typical caps and T-shirts, masks today are powerful billboards for brand logos
By Reya Mehrotra
As with many new normals, which we are getting used to, the ubiquitous masks are being seen as more than just face protectors. Several fashion houses have turned them into accessories, while brands are using them as branding tools. After all, nothing could be more in your face!
Replacing the typical caps and T-shirts, masks today are powerful billboards for brand logos. From global names like Disney, Nike, Louis Phillipe, Tommy Hilfiger, Wildcraft, Puma, Adidas, Banana Republic, Outdoor Voices, to local brands stamping masks with their logos, it’s branding at its most blatant. Not only clothing brands, but sports leagues like Major League Soccer, National Hockey League, and mass media companies like Warner Bros have their own branded masks. Bright masks by Disney and Old Navy are a hit globally, with stylish and fun colours. Disney’s masks, favourites among children and teens, feature its characters like Baby Yoda, Elsa, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the Avengers, etc.

Back in India, a trip to Mumbai’s EsselWorld will also ensure themed masks for each of its parks. Paresh Mishra, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, EsselWorld Leisure, a Mumbai-based amusement and leisure park, says, “We have masks for EsselWorld, Water Kingdom and EsselWorld Bird Park, which have been designed by our internal creative teams.” He adds that branded masks are an addition to their other merchandise like t-shirts and caps. “Masks are a necessity these days and since they are worn on the face, they have more visibility.”

Skincare brand Skinella is offering free branded masks with a purchase worth Rs 400 or more. Says Dolly Kumar, founder and director of Cosmic Nutracos Solutions, Skinella’s parent company, “Our masks reflect our product ethos of vibrant and colourful fruits. Since protective masks are a must, the brand is offering critical personal protection in a rendition that the new-age consumers would enjoy wearing as a distinct style statement.”

Goa based Ninoshka Alvares E Delaney, owner of NinoshkaIndia, a fashion brand that sells through e-commerce website Etsy, says they are offering coordinating masks with their outfits.

“It is a great promotion tool which you can’t go wrong with. Presently, we are giving away one matching face mask free with every garment sale that we make.”

While many car companies in India are manufacturing protective shields and ventilators, brands like Ferrari and Ford are offering masks with their brand logos.

In fact, branded masks have caught on so fast that fakes have also flooded the market. Fake branded masks of Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilger, Swiggy and Amul are easily available everywhere. And, like other fakes and copies, brands are taking these seriously as well. Adidas has clarified that it has not launched any masks in India so far, whereas Tommy Hilfiger has filed cases against manufacturers in Tamil Nadu making masks in their name.