By Pranit Biswas and Sulagna Goswami
With the ongoing speculations of the possible outbreak of a third wave of COVID 19, ‘MASK UP!’ an initiative by Nestle, is a step forward towards spreading greater awareness about the importance of wearing a mask. Nestle India has announced that it is incorporating a mask onto each of their iconic product packaging, like Maggi, KitKat, Nescafe, Everyday, etc. to remind and sensitise every individual about the basic practice that should be followed by everyone at this vulnerable time period being faced by the country.
With current relaxations in COVID restrictions, many having already been vaccinated with the double dose of a COVID vaccine, and eventually resuming their daily lifestyle has resulted in several sections of the public becoming callous and lax in their self-discipline, thereby either forgetting or choosing not to continue wearing a mask when around others. Even though the number of daily COVID positive cases are currently thankfully under control, proper precautions such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and regularly sanitizing surfaces and washing or sanitizing one’s hands still needs to be a very important part of everybody’s lifestyle and consciously followed by all. Incorporating the imagery of masks on the packaging of the major brands and most commonly consumed goods can help serve as a constant reminder of this extremely important safety protocol and increase awareness among the consuming public. The constant visual of masks will reinforce the social message and people will be reminded of the basic practice of masking up and consequently make a conscious effort to do the same.
SOCIAL USE OF TRADEMARKS
It comes as no surprise that the intention behind adopting trade marks is essentially to create a distinguishing element for the recognition of one’s business in the market place. Additionally, putting these very trade marks to use for invoking a social aspect on the overall brand image of the said business, might just be another effective strategy to not only do their bit towards its corporate social responsibility, but also to appeal to its target customers. For example, tweaking packaging to spread a social message is not a new concept for Nestle. Reinforcing a social message through their packaging had been adopted by Nestle back in 2016 as well to support girl child education. Maggi had changed its tagline from “2 minute noodles” to “2 minutes for education”, while Kitkat had changed the visual of the finger snap to one without the break with the line — “No break from education”. Meanwhile, Nescafe had changed the tagline “It all starts with a Nescafe” to “It all starts with education”.[i]
This move garnered significant attention from its consumers, in positive light, which would have eventually contributed towards building a strong goodwill for the company at the least. Initiatives taken by companies which strike a chord with their target consumers, not only helps to garner the consumer’s trust in the brand and also instils a good amount of trust that the brand cares.
Following Nestle’s move, dozens of brands such as Dunzo, Zomato, Subway, Vodafone, Urban Clap, Make My Trip also added masks in their logos and phone application icons during the first wave of COVID 19 itself, as visual reinforcement has been considered an effective strategy to imprint behavioural regulations upon one’s minds, especially children.
Putting one’s trade marks to use with respect to social causes appears to be a fairly new concept, however, with the evolution of marketing in the fast paced era of technology, adopting new strategies to utilise ones registered trade marks in the appropriate manner is in fact a good call. This step taken by Nestle is indeed the need of the hour, especially when people are loosening up and have inculcated a casual approach towards still extremely critical COVID precautions. The ‘MASK UP!’ initiative by Nestle will remind people that even though relaxations have been made, precautions are still mandatory as it was only a few months ago, thus, proving to be a win-win strategy for the buyer, seller and the society’s perspectives combined. However, one must practice caution by applying the right amount of creativity and not ending up overdoing it, otherwise the same may be a complete miss.