Blog/Branding on facemasks – a step too far?
18th February 2021
Advertisers are always looking for an opportunity to spread the word of their brand, product or service in new and creative ways, and so when opportunities and new trends come along, they’ll often pounce on them quickly before the moment passes and the chance is gone. So when, in 2020, it was made mandatory that we in the UK all wear facemasks indoors in public spaces, naturally the companies making the PPE sought to let everyone know that they deserve the credit for doing so.
Facemasks went from being a necessary evil that most of us saw as something we needed to do to curtail the spread of the virus that was to keep schools, shops, cafes bars and gyms closed for months on end (some even saw them as a way for ‘the man’ to exercise an unprecedented level of control over us and/or completely ineffective, but that’s a subject for someone else’s blog!), to this year’s status symbol, with prices ranging from £2 for a pack of ten, to literally hundreds of pounds for a state-of-the-art, used by Formula 1 teams, made from the same material that astronauts wear, diamond encrusted masterpieces.
All that is fine and well. Supply and demand innit?
But where it crossed a line for me is when companies started plastering their branding, or messaging across the space where someone’s mouth used to be.
People’s faces became saleable real estate, as the general public began using their faces to show their sporting, political or brand allegiances.
And on many if not most occasions, the mask-wearer would have paid a premium to have said football club, or brand, or slogan written on their face. That to me is grotesque.
I’m all for exploiting an advertising opportunity when it comes along. But a person’s face is sacred. It’s how we engage with others. We use minute facial expressions to demonstrate to other people how we feel and to engage with the people we’re interacting with. We use nuanced speech to do the same – nuances that are now cloaked behind a screaming advert that gets in the way of us communicating effectively.
And we’re living at a time when face-to-face communication with our fellow man (or woman) is incredibly limited, and as such is becoming increasingly important. Anything that gets in the way of this – especially when it’s in return for money (in either direction) – should and must be frowned upon!
So, until this horrible pandemic recedes and we can all get to socialising normally, I say NO TO BRANDED FACEMASKS AND EVERYTHING THEY STAND FOR!
I refuse to prostitute my face for anyone, and I suggest you do likewise!
I thank you.