The pandemic – accompanied by social isolation, uncertain futures and, in some cases, financial hardship – has taken its toll on our psychological well-being. With Maybelline signing mental health advocate Storm Reid and Maltesers talking openly about post-partum depression, mental health is currently a huge focus for brands.
Mental health can be a tricky topic for marketers to get right. You might remember the widely criticised Burger King campaign from 2018, which was accused of capitalising on mental illness to sell burgers.
The world has changed since then, and consumers seem more receptive to brands speaking out about a once-taboo topic. Ahead of Mental Health Awareness week next week, we are taking a closer look how three leading brands are promoting mental wellbeing.
Maltesers launched its campaign, #TheMassiveOvershare to promote maternal mental health and encourage mothers to be open about the highs and lows of motherhood and get the support they need. It’s not just an empty narrative – Maltesers has donated hundreds of thousands this year alone to support mental health causes. The Overshare campaign works because it builds on the brand’s long-standing purpose of uniting people through the power of laughter.
Another brand getting it right is Maybelline New York who launched “Brave Together”, which aimed to destigmatize anxiety and depression, provide one-on-one support, and let those who are struggling and their loved ones know that they are not alone.
The brand’s website featured real stories from young women on their mental health journey. The brand also recently signed Storm Reid, a 17-year-old actress who is known for being vocal on issues surrounding racial equality, mental health, and inclusivity. A key example of the importance of forming authentic partnerships.
Backpack brand JanSport discovered that 7 out of 10 young people find their mental health is ‘weighing them down’, and only half of Gen Z felt they could adequately measure their stress. 3 in 10 of their Gen Z audience said they felt anxious or nervous almost every day.
The brand responded with an insight-led mission: when it comes to a mental health crisis, if you’re not sharing it, it’s a greater burden. JanSport’s ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign encouraged young people to talk openly about mental health issues. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, JanSport will host weekly Instagram Live conversations with mental health professionals and experts, where young people could take part. Furthermore, JanSport will spread the message on TikTok with a light-hearted challenge: participants videoed themselves taking off their (real and metaphorical) backpacks with the hashtag #LightenTheLoad.
Campaigns promoting psychological well-being can help brands to foster a deeper connection with their audience, improving brand perception and brand affinity. Prioritising mental health should be ingrained in brand culture not simply during next week’s Mental Health Awareness week but all year round.