September 11, 2020

This banner is from the NCDHHS "Whatever your reason, get behind the mask" campaign.

The “Whatever Your Reason” campaign, a new statewide public campaign to encourage every North Carolinian to wear a mask in the collective fight against COVID-19, was launched recently by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). The distinctly North Carolina campaign features real North Carolina people and places and focuses on the personal reasons North Carolinians across the state are choosing, every day, to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Wearing a mask is a simple, effective way to care for our communities and help our economy. I wear a mask to protect my family and loved ones, and because I know my actions contribute to our state’s effort to slow the spread of this virus,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

The first public service announcement took the form of a video titled, “Whatever Your Reason, Get Behind the Mask.” The appeal was informed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and statewide online focus groups, which showed that North Carolinians have personal reasons for wearing a mask, including: avoiding the spread of COVID-19 (77%), wanting to protect their community (72%) and families (71%), and feeling a sense of responsibility (72%). The campaign highlights many of the deeply personal — yet distinctly familiar — reasons that people from across the state are choosing to get behind the mask.

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Dr. Marissa Hall

Dr. Marissa Hall

Two researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health were involved in the face covering research that informed the campaign: Kurt M. Ribisl, PhD, Jo Anne Earp Distinguished Professor and chair of the School’s Department of Health Behavior; and Marissa G. Hall, PhD, assistant professor of health behavior.

Dr. Mandy Cohen

Dr. Mandy Cohen

“We all have a reason to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, who is an adjunct professor at the Gillings School. “We are excited to launch the ‘Whatever Your Reason’ campaign to remind every North Carolinian that there is a reason behind every decision to wear a mask. For me, I wear my mask to protect my family and out of respect for every North Carolinian working hard to do the same. So, whether it’s getting back to work and school or protecting our loved ones, whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

When the “Whatever Your Reason” campaign launched, 172,209 people in North Carolina had tested positive for COVID-19, with a disproportionate number of those cases occurring in the Latinx/Hispanic, Black/African American and American Indian communities. NCDHHS is committed to ensuring that the campaign’s prevention message reaches people across the state, with an intentional focus on reaching historically marginalized communities that are being most impacted by the pandemic. To support this goal, NCDHHS has committed approximately $3.9 million dollars of CARES Act funding to the campaign.

The “Whatever Your Reason” campaign will feature a series of television and radio public service announcements and social media advertisements that will play across North Carolina throughout the fall. The critical message on prevention will include additional community promotions such as print publications, online display ads and displays at gas stations, convenience stores, bus stations and on buses. The campaign will run in Spanish and English language media.

To access campaign resources in English, visit

To access campaign resources in Spanish, visit:

This article originally was published by Gov. Cooper’s press office.

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