Mental health campaign brings new meaning to Black Friday

It can sometimes feel like all of North America is on the hunt for deals in the days leading up to Black Friday, but Publicis Montreal put a serious spin on the frivolity surrounding the occasion with a new campaign developed for a group of mental health partners.

Working with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Anxiety Canada, nabs, Dans la rue, the Tel-jeunes Foundation and Suicide Action Montréal, the “Black Days” (“Jours fous”) campaign consisted of Facebook ads, online banners and mall displays reading “Black (day of the week),” with some featuring the message “On now.”

All of the ads directed people to BlackDays.ca, which revealed the campaign’s true purpose with a homepage message reading “Every day can seem black with depression.” The page also highlights some of the signs of depression, and contains buttons encouraging people to donate to the mental health organization of their choice.

“When you’re only focused on getting a deal, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters,” said Mélissa Charland, associate creative director at Publicis. “Mental health can’t be bought, and it affects a lot more people than we think.”

A recent study of seven countries conducted by Sherbrooke University found that one in five Canadians has experienced symptoms similar to depression or generalized anxiety in the past few months, and the holidays are known to exacerbate those feelings.

The campaign is an extension of Publicis’ ongoing relationship with Dans le rue, a Quebec organization that provides service including counselling to homeless youth. Neo-Traffic, Bell Media and Radio-Canada were the media partners.

Chris Powell