T1 brings a hole new perspective to masks

Masks have become a fashion accoutrement of sorts during the pandemic, with brands like Harry Rosen and Burberry introducing high-end face coverings, and a recent report noting that Etsy stores have sold $346 million worth of face coverings since the crisis began.

But while many of the masks feature fun designs, no manufacturer has addressed one of the fundamental challenges they pose to wearers: Eating and drinking.

Toronto agency T1 says it has devised a solution for the latter problem with the Sippo Mask, a non-medical mask features a self-sealing hole that is the perfect diameter to accommodate any drinking straw. The Sippo is less about T1 getting into the lucrative mask game, and more about expanding its “solutions game,” says senior producer Pothik Karim.

“T1 has always been about creating solutions to address our clients’ needs,” he says. “We exist to seek out opportunities and relieve pain points for our clients and their consumers.

“The Sippo is an expression of that, but in this case our clients are Canadians living their daily lives in the new world of COVID-19, and the brief is to make that new version of life easier.”

Pothik says T1 is “absolutely” looking to attach brand partners to the Sippo. “We think this product represents a wonderful opportunity for a number of brands” he says, listing beverage products, hospitality, entertainment, transit and airlines among the potential candidates.

“[W]e’re engaging with partners for whom we think this product would be a valuable solution to their needs and discussing ways to integrate it into their plans as the pandemic progresses,” he says.

T1 is currently selling pre-orders of the Sippo for $19.99 plus shipping, with Pothik saying the agency is treating the product like a start-up—launching Facebook and Instagram pages and a Shopify storefront. The early response, he says, has been “pretty incredible,” with T1 having nearly sold out the Sippo’s initial production run. The next step is addressing customer requests for more colours.

Also, it was back in 1991 that The New York Times‘ Science Times section answered a reader question that seems germaine to this particular innovation: “Does drinking [alcohol] through a straw make a person drunk faster?” (the answer is no).

Chris Powell