MR TAYTO, the lovable cartoon face of one of Ireland’s most popular snack brands, has donned a face mask in an attempt to encourage more to do the same.
Something of a cultural icon on the Emerald Isle, on a par with the Planters’ icon Mr Peanut, Mr Tayto is essentially the Mickey Mouse of crisps.
As a result, Tayto’s decision to have the character don a mask was always likely to get noticed, particularly by fans on social media.
That proved to be the case, with several coming out on Twitter to show their support for Mr Tayto’s new mask and encourage others to do the same.
“If Mr. Tayto can wear a mask so can you,” one follower wrote.
Another concurred: “Even Mr. Tayto is onboard #WearAMask"
If Mr. Tayto can wear a mask so can you. pic.twitter.com/cvPssmnVXU
— Justine Stafford (@JustineStafford) September 8, 2020
It’s a welcome endorsement and one that will have been well-received by government and healthcare officials concerned about rising case numbers.
Unfortunately, whoever manages the Tayto Northern Ireland Twitter account clearly didn’t get the memo on mask wearing.
Worse still, it wasn’t long before fans began to notice the lack of consistency.
“Mr Tayto NI letting us down again,” one fan said.
Another lamented: “In a further devastating blow to the good friday agreement, it’s now revealed mr free stayto cares about others whereas nordie tayto is anti-mask and therefore pro-COVID.”
— MARKREEL (@markreel) September 9, 2020
“Nordie Mr Tayto is anti-mask. Proving once again that Free Stayto is the one true Tayto,” a third said.
A fourth, meanwhile, summed up the situation thusly: “Meanwhile the Northern Irish Mr. Tayto continues to flaunt mask regulations, further proving the Free Stayto is superior.”
in a further devastating blow to the good friday agreement, it’s now revealed mr free stayto cares about others whereas nordie tayto is anti mask and therefore pro-COVID pic.twitter.com/nYEpgFFD94
— Róisín Lanigan (@rosielanners) September 9, 2020
Responding to the comments, a representative for the Mr Tayto brand in Northern Ireland highlighted a previous social media post depicting Mr Tayto NI donning a face mask back in August.
A statement from the company said: "Mr Tayto NI has asked all of his followers to wear a mask when shopping in Northern Ireland, in line with the Covid-19 guidelines, in Facebook and Twitter posts in August. We all have a role to play in the response to the pandemic."
The Mr Tayto NI Twitter logo has since been updated to include a picture of the character wearing a mask.