KFC Face Mask 2020 - 300 © 2020 KFC

COVID-19 Experience: When Life Gives You Lemons…

It took a little while, but a new trend (fad?) has finally hit the mass market: Branded anti-coronavirus face masks. And one economic niche that has jumped on the bandwagon is the Fast Food sector. And, when you come to think about it, that should come as no surprise…

KFC Face Mask 2020 - 640 © 2020 KFCStylish, contemporary. And it even smells like Fried Chicken!

Who’s been trying hardest to stay in operation during the SOVIC-19 crisis, even in the face of unprecedented regulations and restrictions on how they can do business? Which economic sector has been more closely associated with anti-coronavirus face masks than the Fast Food industry? None. But why have the major players only just recently come out with their own ‘branded’ masks for employees and customers, alike?

Many reasons for the delay…

First, it’s obvious that the manufacturers who produce face masks are now experiencing lower demand since the peak demand during the ramp up period of the first wave of COVID-19 has subsided, and the world once again has a sufficient supply of PPEs to meet their needs in response to the crisis. The mask industry is now accepting orders for ‘private branded’ variations on the standard patterns.

Second, the fast Food sector was stretched to its breaking point just dealing with the sanitation social distancing and contactless service requirements they had to learn to deal with to re-open or stay open at first. Now, they have all the new protocols, Plexiglas and PPEs they need to operate safely in place, and employees are trained. There’s time to reflect on opportunities they didn’t have the time or resources to explore previously.

Third, one of the first such opportunities involves the otherwise obvious option of placing their corporate logos on face masks to distribute to their staff and customers. Like Ball Caps, masks are literally at eye level and everyone will automatically view them when they do what all humans do while talking with the wearer: make face/eye contact.

Not exactly the first thing they focused on

In fact, marketing types first reflexively fell back on the known and proven ‘merch’-andise Fast Food flag wavers have counted on in the past: Baseball Caps and T-shirts. Now, the marketing gurus seem to have decided that face masks will be with us for some time yet to come, and represent a totally new, literally ‘in (and on) your face’ advertising canvas. Hence a rush in the past couple of weeks to début new branded ‘facewear’. Once one brand discovers and reveals a new marketing device or strategy, the rest bolt from their patented X-Chairs and compete with each other to see who can be first to copy-cat the new idea.

Among the first on the face mask front are Hormel Foods, the makers of famed lunch box stuffer SPAM and dozens of other cured Meat products, including Black Label (TM) Breathable Bacon touted as, ‘Using the latest in bacon-smell technology and irresistibly breathable, 2-ply fabric, finally, bacony-bliss can be with you always — even while out in public’. Second-string U.S. chain Jack-in-the Box is doing the same thing with Chicken-scented masks. KFC branded masks are available at logo-gear manufacturer and merchandise sales sites such as Redbubble.

Visit the logo-wear maker’s site and-site search your favoured brand, or start at the merch page at your fave brand’s website. Expect to pay from $14 to $20 each for ‘exclusive’ masks (the more expensive ones scented) which can be washed and reused an almost-unlimited number of times.

The coast is almost clear…

Mask makers have been extra busy lately with making branded campaign masks for the U.S. elections. But that stuff will be all over within a couple of more weeks. Then let your Fast Food fan feelings be known to one and all with resto-branded ‘face wear’.

All hail the Baseball Cap of the future! Some observers say masks may become an accepted fact of life even after the pandemic crisis has passed. Might as well get used to the logos now!

~ Maggie J.

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