In what is surely one of the more emblematic marketing efforts of a very strange year, Crayola has joined with apparel company Supara Group to offer the Crayola SchoolMaskPack for kids who are (at least maybe) returning to school (possibly) next month.
The package of five non-medical-grade cloth masks, available in a variety of Crayola crayon colors and designs, are adjustable. They come in different sizes for students of all ages, and adults, too. A five-pack is retailing for $29.99 and comes in a mesh-laundry bag so the masks can be easily tossed into washing machines. The company says they should last for six months.
The packs of masks also come with a little calendar so parents or kids can keep track of who’s wearing what and when.
SchoolMaskPack is part of Thailand-based Supara Group, and as the name may indicate, is a brand new offshoot. (There hasn’t been much of a market for school masks in the United States until recently). Supara otherwise is a clothes-maker whose most unusual offering is a shirt that can change colors with the temperature.
Chris Foster, CMO of SchoolMaskPack and former executive at Saatchi & Saatchi and other major advertising firms, was living with his wife and children in Hong Kong during the SARS outbreak. His children, like others, wore masks in school because children there have been taught people of all ages can spread disease.
In a Parents magazine essay, he wrote, “With this altruistic view of mask-wearing in mind, children—including my own—felt good about wearing masks. . . The message to our kids: You have the power to help prevent the spread of a virus. In other words, you're like a superhero. Putting on a mask became fun, not frightening.”
Other manufacturers are marketing masks for the back-to-school market, but not many, seemingly, with the cachet of Crayola, a brand that’s been around classrooms and kids for 135 years.
“Crayola has always worked to support children in the home and in the classroom.” said Warren Schorr, vice president of business development and global licensing at Crayola,
George Hartel, SchoolMaskPack’ chief commercial officer, echoed that fact, noting that Crayola’s signature colors “have inspired many generations.”
SchoolMaskPack will make a donation to one of three COVID-19 related charities with every purchase.
Now, all that’s left for SchoolMaskPack is to await the school season. “Keeping an eye on the school situation has been exceptionally, exceptionally weird,” a spokesman said.