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5 Moving Commercials That Ignited Conversations About Mental Wellness

10th October is observed every year as World Mental Health Day to raise awareness about the importance of one’s mental well-being. Although approximately 11% of the world’s population is currently grappling with some form of mental illness, people seeking mental help are made fun of to the extent that they’re deemed unfit to live amongst ‘normal” people. But thankfully, conversations around mental well-being are gradually becoming more mainstream. And brands have played a key role in that through their impressive marketing endeavors.

So, today let’s take a look at some of the iconic commercials that have helped reshape the way we look at mental health and erase the stigma around it.

1. ITV: Britain, Get Talking (2022)

Young people are at the highest risk of mental illness and usually struggle with anxiety. This ITV commercial from 2022 sheds light on the need for parents to speak to their children and identify if there’s anything that is eating them from within.

The 90-second spot shows a father having a conversation with his daughter after she’s had a bad day at school. The subtitles shown in the video highlight the gap that exists between what’s being spoken by the father-daughter duo and what they actually mean, thereby, demonstrating how difficult it can be for young people to open up, especially to their parents. However, after a slow start, the two finally make some breakthroughs and the daughter confides to her dad about what’s bothering her.

The commercial encourages parents to keep making small efforts to get their children to talk to them, which makes it empathetic and relatable to many who struggle to be more easily approachable for their children.

2. CAMH: I Can’t Breathe (2018)

The teaching hospital Centre for Addiction and Mental Health came up with an impactful commercial in 2018 that sought to remind people that although mental health issues are invisible, they deserve to be treated like any other illness.

The 30-second features a young girl in a healthcare facility talking about her ordeals against mental illness. The commercial showcases the toll that anxiety takes on some people and why it should be taken more seriously.

3. Dove: Reverse Selfie (2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown were hard on people in many ways- professionally, personally, and mentally. And it was especially taxing on young people, especially young girls who, thanks to social media, always feel pressurized to look a certain way and often lose their self-esteem in the process.

But thankfully Dove, which has been criticized many times in the past for its offensive marketing campaigns, came up with this impressive advert. The ad shows the reverse video of a woman who’s preparing to take a selfie and adding filters to her face. At the end of the video, Dove urges parents to have the “selfie talk” with their teenage kids.

Good job, Dove; this simple initiative will probably do more good than all your other marketing adverts combined.

4. Movember Foundation: Man Up (2016)

If the previous advert was about women, this one focuses on men. Let’s face it, society has always been ruthless to men, who are expected to wear their hearts on their sleeves and are ridiculed and made fun of for shedding tears. Men are often asked to toughen up and face every difficulty without ever “whining” about it.

Thankfully, the Movember Foundation understood the massive societal pressure that men are often subjected to and came up with this wonderful 60-second advert that sought to normalize crying for men. The hard-hitting video highlights the numerous things that men are told from “hardening up” to “growing a pair”. The video encourages men to speak up and express their feelings saying "It takes a man to feel”. Well, I couldn’t agree more with that!

5. CALM: Suicidal Doesn’t Always Look Suicidal (2022)

Of all the ads covered in this blog, this one is the most heartbreaking one without a shade of doubt.

Suicide prevention charity CALM came up with this heart-rending advert that showcases a string of videos of multiple people who are all smiling, laughing, and seemingly happy. Well, guess what, these videos were their last moments captured by their loved ones before they took their lives. The message of the advert is simple, it’s often impossible to figure out if someone is struggling and is at the risk of suicide. Depression doesn’t have a face and the only way it can be addressed is by removing the stigma around mental health, which can be attained by making it part of our daily conversations.

Wrapping Up

And that was a wrap of the best commercials on mental health. Your campaign around mental health should be well-thought-out. Ensuring respectful and compassionate messaging that validates people’s experiences is key to the success of any campaign around mental health.

We’ll be back with more amazing commercials for you. Until then, stay tuned!

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