For doctors and nurses on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus, the only tools they have to shield themselves against the virus are protective clothing and masks.
But there is a dire shortage, and healthcare workers in the United States have taken the unprecedented step of asking the public to donate their masks to those on the frontline.
New York-based creative agency Fancy has created a shareable set of GIFs for the peer-to-peer platform called Mask Match, which enables people to send unused masks directly to hospitals and caretakers in desperate need of personal protective equipment.
Mask Match was founded by Liz Klinger and Chloe Alpert on March 19 to help fill the shortage of protective equipment. Their project has already been shared by influencers, including actress Natalie Portman and high profile journalist Jessica Yellin, a former CNN White House correspondent.
“When I found out my mom, a lifelong nurse, was working on the front lines without proper medical gear, I had to do something,” Klinger said. “I don’t want my mom to die—and millions of others who have friends and family in healthcare feel the same way.”
Fancy, which is owned and run by women, turned the creative around in 24 hours and developed a series of GIFs to raise awareness of Mask Match and remind people to “Be a hero, not a hoarder.”
GIF messages include “Got masks? Give masks!”, “If you got it, they want it”, “Job not essential? Your masks are” and “The scariest mask is the one your doctor isn’t wearing.”
“Riding out this storm in New York City, even on a severely restricted media diet, is so scary,” said Katie Keating, co-founder and co-CCO of Fancy. “I’m worried for my friends and family, but I’m terrified for the healthcare workers on the front lines who are being told to self-sanitize their masks or go without.”
She said Mask Match’s approach instantly resonated with the the small agency team, which focused its collective efforts on amplifying the cause.
“When I learned about Mask Match last week,” Keating said, “I knew the rest of our work could wait.”