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How 'Sexy, Edgy' Miami Beach Is Reminding People To Wear A Mask

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The City of Miami Beach
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Miami Beach city officials have posters. banner and social media ads telling people to wear a mask.

She's edgy. She's sexy. She's Miami Beach.

And she's telling people to "mask up."

That's the idea behind a campaign launched by the city of Miami Beach reminding people to wear a mask in public.

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As South Florida readies itself for the pending approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, local government officials continue to push the same message: Wear a mask.

In Miami Beach, city officials decided to put their own twist on it.

Anyone who walks along Lincoln Road or Ocean Drive can spot a poster of a woman wearing a black bathing suit (sometimes a black dress), a white hat, sunglasses and a mask.

The illustration of the ubiquitous woman stands against the backdrop of raspberry colored skies. The city's vibrant lifeguard stands are planted in the sand. Above her head, a playful font reads "Mask Up!"

"Miami Beach isn't your normal city," said Tonya Daniels, Miami Beach's director of marketing and communications. "We are an iconic brand and we know that everything that we do is criticized and scrutinized on a national level."

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The campaign, which rolled out in June, taps into Miami Beach's sexy, edgy and fresh image, Daniels said.

Even hip-hop producer DJ Khaled who owns a waterfront home in Miami Beach advocated for mask wearing in a video.

"I wanna talk to the young world and everybody — it doesn't matter what age you are, this is very serious." DJ Khaled said in the video.

The citywide campaign targets both tourists and residents.

The marketing and communications department built a Miami Beach-centric campaign because other cities and municipalities have their own codes and regulations.

Part of the city's budget went toward geo-targeting advertisements, Daniels said. That means anyone who steps foot within the city limits of Miami Beach can see the digital ads on their cell phones or devices.

"Right or wrong a lot of people are coming to South Florida and to Miami Beach to enjoy the fresh air and be outside where it's perhaps a little less risky with the virus," Daniels said. "So we wanted to have a campaign that was going to stand out and catch some attention but also get the message across."

The city later posted another round of public service announcements just before schools reopened that featured children explaining the importance of wearing a mask.

"I think that the challenges obviously are the challenges that people are having globally," Daniels said. "Not everybody believes in it, not everybody wants to wear it. I think the only way to truly get the message across is to keep pushing it."

This week, Florida became the third state in the nation to surpass more than one million positive cases of COVID-19. The other states are Texas and California.

Nine months into the pandemic, consistency is key when fighting against pandemic fatigue and Daniels said the goal is to promote the same call to action through every visual — regardless of the intended audience.

"We're not asking people to change their beliefs, we're not asking people to decide that they now believe a mask works now that Miami Beach is telling them to," Daniels said. "We just want them to understand that in Miami Beach that's what you have to do."

Miami Beach currently requires people to wear facials coverings in public spaces. The city will provide complimentary masks if an individual does not have one. Otherwise, anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be issued a $50 civil citation.