“This has to be a joke right?” Delaware City resident Jack Bennino wrote wrote on Facebook.
It is definitely not.
The giant surgical masks that 11 New Castle County vehicles just started sporting impart a very serious message to people: In the age of coronavirus, wearing masks saves lives.
“The message we’re promoting is simple: keep wearing your mask,” said County Executive Matt Meyer.
The campaign runs for three months and includes 10 high-profile vehicles used by paramedics and public works crews and Meyer’s official Chevy Tahoe.
The masks, which measure 7 by 3 feet, come from Carvertise, a Wilmington company that wraps vehicles with advertising.
“We’re hardwired to look at the cars around us for safety reasons, but we’re also curious about other people’s cars,” the firm explains in a blog post about why car wraps generate more buzz at lower cost than other forms of advertising.
“Facemask-adorned county vehicles will create 2.7M touchpoints over next 3 months to promo mask wearing,” Carvertise CEO Mac Macleod wrote on Twitter. By touchpoints, he means how often the vehicles will be seen.
The county is America’s first government with such a campaign, according to county spokesman Brian Cunningham.
It was launched with a #teammask hashtag, with posts on Twitter and Instagram that join scores of others that promote masks, in multiple languages.
Some people posting on Facebook mistakenly believe that the county vehicles’ new masks will make them overheat, but careful attention by Carvertise to the material and design mean that’s not the case, Cunningham said.
Google found one earlier car with a similar promotional mask.
“Hey, you know, smile a little bit,” creator Jason Webb of North Carolina told WLOS-TV back in April. “We follow the precautions and we’re going to be good.”