Published on March 3, 2022, at 9:53 p.m.
by Schulyer Rosson.
When we think of Oscar Mayer, many of us are reminded of childhood sandwich lunches, not skincare. Oscar Mayer has transformed from deli to delicacy, launching the first bologna-inspired sheet mask. The meat powerhouse has partnered with a Korean skincare company, Seoul Mamas, to give bologna a second life as skincare. Whether you were raised on bologna sandwiches, or are a devout skincare enthusiast, Oscar Mayer has gained an unexpected customer base that not only set the internet ablaze but also united decades of cold-cut consumers.
Notably, the mask does not actually contain any bologna, although it does look deceivingly similar to the infamous lunch meat. Pink hydrogel cushions the skin while rejuvenating witch hazel botanicals and seaweed-derived ingredients soothe and hydrate. Kraft Heinz, Oscar Mayer’s parent company, asserts the masks “promote skin elasticity, improve hydration and moisture retention, offer anti-inflammatory benefits, and provide protection for the skin.” Plus, each mask is only $5.
Released in January 2022, the product was originally made available in a limited quantity on Amazon. Within just the first week of launch, the ironic skincare spin earned the title of Amazon’s “#1 new release” in beauty and personal care. In a company statement, Oscar Mayer Senior Marketing Analyst Lindsey Ressler explained the mask’s origins: “Our approach to skincare was inspired by those who used to playfully make masks out of their bologna as kids. This product was born as a modern-day way to spark smiles for fans of Oscar Mayer and beauty enthusiasts alike.”
Loyal customers and skincare fanatics raced to social media to share their opinions, reviews and memes surrounding the novelty skincare item. Although unconventional, Oscar Mayer is far from the only American company to dip into the skincare gold pot. The beauty industry is one of the highest grossing consumer sectors, generating an annual revenue of nearly $49.2 billion in 2019 alone.
Top publications, customers and influencers went viral for sharing their thoughts on the meat mogul’s niche approach to skincare. Leading skincare influencers such as Jeffree Star, Meredith Duxbury and Yaya Young individually garnered over 700,000 views on their social media posts. Content surrounding the beauty mask sparked a series of selfies and resulted in viral conversations surrounding the meat-inspired novelty. According to author Jonah Berger, virality is achieved through “triggers”: “sights, sounds and other stimuli that remind us of related products and ideas and are another reason we share.” Oscar Mayer’s appeal to nostalgia unites consumers and invites them to participate in a conversation with similarly humored individuals.
As a result of the mask’s success, Kraft Heinz launched multiple restocks with more to be expected. The bologna-inspired sheet mask invokes memories of schoolyard sandwiches, while also attracting the attention of skincare’s most viral gurus. With this successful product launch, Oscar Mayer reminds us to Treat Yo’Self and Meat Yo’Self.