Dive Brief:

  • Hormel Foods created “Breathable Bacon” cloth masks that are infused with bacon scent for meat lovers to wear while they’re out of the home, the company said in a press release.
  • People can visit the BreathableBacon.com website through Oct. 28 and register for a chance to win a free pack of the limited-edition masks. For every request made on the site, Hormel will donate one meal to nationwide nonprofit Feeding America, up to 10,000 meals.
  • As consumers confront the reality of their own breath while wearing masks, the Breathable Bacon masks offer an alternate aroma that links a bacon olfactory experience to the thought of Hormel as consumers go about errands or their daily lives.

Dive Insight:

This stunt is Hormel’s latest to make the realities of the pandemic a little more enjoyable for consumers. With mask-wearing becoming de rigueur around the country, and as some municipalities require the face coverings by law, the brand’s move to make the experience more fun may be a welcome respite for many consumers.


A video promoting Breathable Bacon promotes the product as more than a mask, but rather, a “smellicious innovation for your face.” The video concludes with the line: “Don’t just eat bacon. Inhale it.” Meat lovers who register on the branded website and win the masks are encouraged to share photos on social media using the hashtag #BreathableBacon, providing a hub of sorts for Hormel to collect user-generated content of consumers wearing the limited-edition offering and showing their brand support.

The scented masks are the latest in Hormel’s stunts to capitalize on multisensory experiences of bacon. The brand previously sponsored “The Black Market,” a bacon-themed virtual reality experience. Four years ago, Hormel debuted “The Reggie Watts Bacon Experience” as a music promotion featuring the sounds of bacon cooking on a skillet, and introduced a bacon grease-fueled motorcycle in 2014 to celebrate the International Bacon Film Festival in San Diego.

“We’re continually focused on innovation — from new products, to marketing and distribution — all in an effort to deliver new and exciting ways to experience and enjoy Black Label bacon,” Nick Schweitzer, Black Label Bacon senior brand manager, said in the announcement. “In 2020, that means connecting everyone’s favorite bacon scent to the year’s ‘it’ accessory, and in doing so, bring Black Label Bacon closer to our fans.”

Across its brand portfolio, Hormel has moved quickly to capitalize on the pandemic’s new realities. When consumers were largely at home last spring, Hormel launched a branded film festival on YouTube. The Hormel Film Festival featured six short films showcasing people of various ages and backgrounds who beat incredible odds, touching on areas such as autism, veteran’s affairs and poverty. Last month, the brand set a Guinness World Record for most participants in a virtual pizza party, demonstrating how some food brands are tying their marketing strategies to uplift frontline workers during the pandemic and donate food to communities in need.

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