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What will it take to convince people to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic?

A new marketing campaign by an Austin advertising agency tries to convince people who refuse to wear face masks to put them on to help their neighbors.

AUSTIN, Texas — While a majority of Americans say they wear face masks outside the home – 72% according to a Gallup Survey this week – there’s still a sizeable number who say they won’t wear them even if health experts say that it helps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Gallup reported 14% of Americans say they will never wear a face mask.

So the question is this: What would it take to convince those who refuse, to have a change of heart and put a mask on? Could a marketing campaign change their minds?  

Who better to ask than Roy Spence, chairman and co-founder of one of the most successful advertising agencies on the planet, Austin’s GSD&M? They’re the folks who brought us the famous “Don’t Mess with Texas” ad campaign that convinced people to stop littering on Texas streets and highways.

RELATED: Anti-mask protesters' new weapon: wearing masks that offer no COVID-19 protection

The same ad agency has recently created a public service campaign about wearing face masks, to keep mom and pop businesses from having to shut down if the virus gets worse. The campaign is called “Stand Tall for Small,” and its central message is about looking out for our neighbors during these perilous times. So, could that approach convince those who won’t wear a mask?    

“I say, wear a mask for John or Bobby or Juan or whoever it is trying to get back on their feet again,” said Spence. “Do I think it can help? Yes. Do I think it will solve the problems of die-hards who won’t wear masks? No. But we can’t give up. We can never give up on trying to serve the greater good if just for this moment in time.”


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