Using depression as a marketing tool can be a tricky balancing act. Although it's not a new phenomenon, it's still a tough sell to get consumers interested in paying attention to it. But with the advent of social media, brands have found ways to make themselves a little more personal and relevant.
One example is Burger King's Happy Meals campaign. This campaign has ticked many CSR boxes, but the campaign has come under fire for its flimsy attempt at being relatable. For instance, the campaign teamed up with McDonald's to promote their 'Happy Meals' by playing on the famous 'Happy Meals' commercial. This was not a new concept, but a marketing campaign for a limited-edition meal deal certainly piqued consumers' interest.
CEO at the British mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably Simon Gunning , said that acting responsibly is most important when it comes to online conversations about mental health.
“The internet is awash with pseudo-science, and whilst there is a section of people who’s livelihoods are dependent on an unforgiving set of metrics — followers and likes, engagement and reach — we should all be bound by a duty of care,” Gunning stated.
In fact, one study found that more than 700,000 people die from suicide each year. That's about a third of all suicides in the US. Fortunately, there's a way to combat this growing problem. A well-designed campaign can make consumers feel better about themselves and, more importantly, better about the brand.
A more comprehensive study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that the same campaign could increase sales by as much as 10 percent. But that's not saying much. The study also found that consumers were less likely to purchase from the brand if it didn't make them feel better about themselves.
Using depression as a marketing tool can certainly be the wrong move. However, brands such as Burger King can make consumers feel better about themselves and improve sales at the same time by putting a human face on the brand. The company's social media campaign isn't the only brand to attempt this feat. It's worth taking a closer look at what works and what doesn't in your own marketing. After all, the best way to make a lasting impression is to make your consumers feel good about themselves. The key is to do it with style. And, as this campaign shows, it can be done with a bit of creative thinking.
If you or someone you love is suffering from mental illness seek medical advice. The Recover works with mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities around the country to provide assistance to those suffering.