COVID-19 prompted Vector Media and its longtime partner Carisma to collaborate to build face shields for front-line medical workers in need of protective gear.. The two companies are in the out-of-home advertising business, but with paying ads in OOH greatly reduced since the pandemic, they pooled their resources to support communities in other ways.
Manhattan-based Vector Media's CEO Marc Borzykowski and his team reached out to New York State and hospital groups to determine who could use the shields, which look similar to a welder's mask. They also used social media to spread the word.
“It didn’t take long to receive incoming requests,” he said, adding that the company also has donated a lot of media as buses continue to run throughout the country.
Dr. Jon Mazer, anesthesiologist at a hospital in New Jersey, is thankful for the donations. Mazer said he works in a “high risk area of the hospital” and the companies offered to donate the gear. The hospital where he works received about 100 face shields last month.
“We have to work very close to the patients' mouths when we intubate them,” Mazer said. “We can’t social distance with our patients. It’s not part of the job. The shields provide another layer of protection for us and keeps us safer.”
Mazer, who says he approaches every patient as if they have contracted the virus, says there were about 300 COVID-19 patients at one point, but since then the numbers have declined to about 90.
“Everyone plays a part in this and should wear a mask,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to protect society. Assume you are infected and can potentially pass it on. If you’re not wearing a mask, you increase the risk.”
All of the 3,000 face shields were donated to between five and 10 medical facilities.
“We wanted to do something, but didn’t want to make money from it,” said Moshe Gil, president and CEO at Carisma, Brooklyn, New York. “Everyone must help wherever they can.”
Employees at Carisma designed and manufactured the face shields with some of the supplies they use daily to create large format print advertisements for out of home. The CNC printing machine allowed the company to make the face shields.
Vector Media, along with donations from AJ Visual Solutions helped to financially support the project. Each of the face shields cost $8 in material, not including assembly, to manufacture.