- Hanes started a social media campaign to urge people to wear face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of its #MaskAround campaign, the apparel brand is donating 1 million masks to people experiencing homelessness nationwide, per an announcement.
- The brand enlisted social influencers on Instagram and TikTok to highlight how they wear face masks in different settings, such as seeing a movie at a drive-in, picnicking in the park or sitting around a fire pit with friends. The campaign follows the June launch of the brand's first line of washable and reusable face masks. Hanes plans to introduce more face masks, including a line for children, in the coming weeks.
- Hanes is working with Mark Horvath, who founded the nonprofit Invisible People to educate people about the plight of folks experiencing homelessness and to support assistance organizations nationwide. Hanes has donated more than 3 million pairs of socks and other clothing items to charity since 2009, according to its announcement.
Hanes' #MaskAround campaign urging people to wear face masks aims to reach a younger audience that's more likely than older generations to use social media apps like Instagram and TikTok. The campaign is somewhat risky, considering that government mandates requiring people to wear face masks in public have spurred pushback about the loss of personal freedom. The face mask policies of stores and restaurants also have been a source of conflict with some customers, according to news reports.
However, there are also signs that many Americans wear face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 70% of U.S. adults said they wear a mask to a grocery store or retail location, while about half (51%) of people wear a face mask all the time outside their homes, per an online survey that Hanes commissioned from Wakefield Research. The survey also found that 50% of Americans wear a mask while going to a restaurant, while almost a third (32%) plan to wear a mask on a date. Almost half (45%) of respondents said they had forgotten to take a mask with them and realized they needed one.
Such widespread use has led Hanes and marketers including Procter & Gamble and Joann to run campaigns encouraging the donning of face masks.
By enlisting influencers to help spread the word about its #MaskAround campaign, Hanes can extend its reach among consumers whose opinions are shaped by social media personalities. Almost two-thirds (61%) of people ages 18 to 34 said digital influencers have swayed their decision-making at some point, per a survey by Econsultancy. Eighty-five percent of Gen Zers and millennials said it's important that influencers they follow try to make the world a better place and are people with whom they'd want to hang out, a survey by market researcher Cassandra found. The ability of influencers to affect consumer opinion supports spending on influencer marketing, which is forecast to reach $15 billion by 2022 from $8 billion last year, Business Insider Intelligence estimated based on Mediakix data.
Hanes' #MaskAround campaign also includes a significant cause-driven element with its donation of 1 million face masks to people experiencing homelessness. Cause-driven campaigns have been shown to appeal to younger consumers who tend to favor brands that support social movements. Amid the pandemic, 84% of people want to see brands contribute to society while 80% want them to show empathy, per a recent Morning Consult survey. That sentiment has spurred brands such as Bud Light, Chipotle Mexican Grill, JanSport, Papa John's Pizza and Schick to run campaigns that raise awareness for causes in the past few months.