Possibly the Best Marketing Idea to Tackle the Mask Debate

How businesses can take mask matters into their own hands

Angry woman wearing a mask below her nose and mouth. A gloved finger points at the reader.
Angry woman wearing a mask below her nose and mouth. A gloved finger points at the reader.
By luis_molinero — licensed via Freepik

To wear or not to wear?

That’s the question many public officials are asking themselves regarding mask mandates. With nearly 40 US states reporting hikes in coronavirus cases, the mask-wearing debate rages on with no real solution.

Until now.

Municipalities where there are no statewide mandates are mulling local ordinances.

The mere mention of such, however, and just like that 💥 thousands of keyboard warriors emerge to visit official buildings for the first time, social distancing be damned, to state their case.

Some compare the forcefulness of wearing a mask to gun control. A few, unable to come up with a better comparison, simply state, “I’m not wearing underwear either.” (That last one doesn’t sit particularly well when you live in Florida and the same people were standing in line outside for an hour…in 96 degree heat.) #Yikes!

While I’m reveling in the fact my car’s been getting two weeks to the gallon, Karen over here is losing her marbles over having to wear a mask at the nail salon, and Ken’s thinking about suing a restaurant chain for not letting him sit inside to devour the two crispy chicken sandwiches he got for $4 via mobile order. All this, while we’ve largely ignored that the Pentagon released UFO videos and Ying Ying and LeLe — two giant pandas — mated for the first time in over a decade. And you thought quarantine was infringing on your sex life.

Some states pass mandate responsibility on to the counties. Counties evade responsibility, handing the decision off to cities. Overly-aggressive anti-maskers flood the speakers roster while others forgo attending local meetings because of the lack of social distancing…and occasionally bathing. Some officials have viewed the number of anti-maskers attending meetings to be representative of the public as a whole, making it about he who has the bigger soapbox.

At least two of my city’s council members have said a mask requirement should be the onus of businesses. Many anti-maskers nodded in agreement, saying if a business requires a mask, they’ll either put one on, or shop elsewhere.

Yeah, right.

We’ve seen the viral videos: Customers spitting in employees’ faces over mask requests. In May, a Family Dollar security guard in Michigan was killed over the state’s mask policy. Two weeks ago, a Southwest Florida man went ballistic over being asked to put on a mask at Costco.

The solution…

As a marketer, I’ve had to find unique ways to navigate COVID-19 and protests. With so many local businesses feeling immense pressure from either side, it’s time to shake things up.

Since officials want owners and managers to create and enforce their own policies where there’s no mandate in place, here’s a solution.

Designate days of the week for each group to shop. Just like many grocery stores across the US have set seniors shopping hours, assign each group their own days. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday are for mask-wearers only. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are for the unmasked.

Next, advertise the heck out of it. You can use Canva or Adobe Spark to generate spectacular graphics to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Heck, create a TikTok video depicting consumer excitement over being able to shop on their own terms. Use tags like Shop Naked Faced and Nothing Will Divide Us.

Just remember to create reversible door signs, so you can easily switch — on the cheap.

Reversible door signs. One reads MASKED ALLIES ONLY. The other reads ANTI-MASKERS ONLY.
Reversible door signs. One reads MASKED ALLIES ONLY. The other reads ANTI-MASKERS ONLY.
Sign design by Pamela Hazelton

Imagine the publicity of restricting shopping based on whether or not face coverings are worn. No one can argue racism or ageism. No one can accuse you of denying their rights.

Of course, there’s seven days in a week, so on Sunday? That’s when you let maskers and anti-maskers throw down in the parking lot. Whoever wins, shops.

If you really want to go viral, bring in an announcer. Guaranteed, there’s a musician or DJ who can show up with a P.A. system and go all Michael Buffer out there.

Picture the crowds, in person and online via live feed, shouting “steal her mask, steal her mask!,” “Mask up, Karen, mask up!” You think this debate is savage online? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

When it’s all done, and you’re counting the day’s take, revel in conquering a dilemma that’s been flooding social media timelines nationwide, and leaving hapless politicians without any solution for months. Who says the coronavirus has to keep everyone down? It’s time to stop waiting on someone else to take charge and grab the bull by the horns.

I’ll be looking forward to pics of next Sunday’s combatants, black eyes, full shopping carts and all!

If ya got better ideas on how local businesses can get through all this, please share. Connect with me on Twitter.

Written by

Avid writer, marketer & business consultant. // Reward yourself a little every day. 🆆🅾🆁🅺 + 🅻🅸🅵🅴 🅱🅰🅻🅰🅽🅲🅴

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