Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign shows actions big and small can contribute to mental health

Who: Bell Canada with lg2 and Media Experts.

What: The 2021 “Bell Let’s Talk” campaign, which includes six new TV/online ads, as well as out-of-home executions.

When & Where: The campaign began today (Jan. 4) and will run through Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 28.

Why: Bell has done a lot to drive awareness about mental health and illness since launching Let’s Talk Day in 2011. But the context is radically different for 2021, when much of the country is struggling through the pandemic and the emotional anguish it has brought.

“Now more than ever, every action counts in moving Canada’s mental health forward,” said Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE, in a release. “The multiple and unprecedented impacts of the last year have underscored the need to address mental illness in new ways, as well as the important role we can all play in putting the focus on mental health.”

How: The creative retains the theme of “every action counts” that was introduced last year. The ads feature a series of scenarios showing people taking action to help those struggling with mental illness. The scenes range from doctors spending 15 years researching schizophrenia, to individuals helping someone breathe through a panic attack or sending a supportive text message to someone struggling at work.

Some of the scenes are directly related to COVID, while in others the pandemic is present but only as background—masks and video chats etc. The voiceover for each spot ends with a “now more than ever” message.

Bell Media programming will also include mental health content in English and French across its properties, including an episode of CTV’s Etalk featuring Alanis Morissette speaking candidly about her mental health.

The CTA: As in previous years, the thrust of the campaign will be Bell’s five-cent donations to Canadian mental health programs for every use of the #BellLetsTalk hashtag on Jan. 28, as well as for use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Last year, 154,387,425 messages generated $7,719,371.25 in donations.

Bell will also be announcing funding for new mental health projects later this month, and will launch the Let’s Talk Community Fund that will see $2 million per year distributed as grants of up to $25,000 to grassroots mental health initiatives. Bell will also be announcing more recipients of the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund, which launched in July to support mental health in BIPOC communities.

Bell has committed more than $113 million to mental health in Canada since 2011, and last March announced that it would extend Let’s Talk for another five years, with a total fundraising goal of $155 million.

And we quote: “Together we’ve made tremendous progress in increasing awareness of mental health and supporting improved access to care, but demands for help continue to increase dramatically as we confront these difficult times. Bell Let’s Talk is proud to play our part with a $155 million minimum funding commitment and new dedicated programs addressing the impacts of both COVID-19 and systemic racism on our communities.” —Mary Deacon, chair of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative


David Brown