Untitled asks an important question for online therapy service BetterHelp

What: BetterHelp with Untitled Films (no creative agency), directed by Rebecca Applebaum and written by Julia Lederer.

What: “Want,” an evocative new ad for the online therapy platform created by the Toronto-based production company.

When & Where: BetterHelp is based in San Francisco, but the ad is running internationally (including Canada) across the big social platforms.

Why: Like so many things in the last 18 months, online has become a popular alternative for in-person therapy. But the goal for this campaign is to encourage people, and men in particular, to feel more comfortable about getting help when struggling with anxiety, while also raising awareness of BetterHelp as an option.

“Historically, men have been hesitant to reach out and ask for help with their mental health,” said BetterHelp creative director James Imrie in a release. “We’re starting to see more and more men open up about their feelings and emotions as the long-held stigmas start to fade.”

How: The 60-second ad opens with a man sitting on a couch. An off-screen voice asks “What do you want?” At first the man replies simply that he wants a job he can be proud of, but then he keeps going, opening up like someone talking to a therapist; his smile fades, replaced with a look of dread and anxiety as he voices his fears about where his life is going.

In the next shot the viewer sees that the question came from a man who simply wanted to know what he would like to eat for a food order. The message “Need someone else to talk to?” appears on screen, followed by the BetterHelp logo.

Hire higher: Director Applebaum was an actor before moving behind the camera during the pandemic. She just joined Untitled through the Hire Higher program, which has a goal of bringing more diversity, particularly BIPOC diversity, to the commercial production industry in Canada. An earlier ad Applebaum did for BetterHelp has earned more than 20 million views since going live in February.

And we quote: “Rebecca and the team at Untitled Films did an amazing job capturing the feeling of existential anxiety that plagues so many of us. We’re excited to play a part in continuing to break down these stigmas, while we continue to provide the therapy resources to enable people to work through these feelings.” — James Imrie, creative director, BetterHelp

David Brown