BetterHelp Uses Dark Humor to Normalize Therapy
If a pipe bursts in your home, would you call a plumber? Or just hope the water eventually runs dry? What about car trouble? Would you drive without heat in the winter, or have a mechanic fix it?
The latest campaign for BetterHelp uses dark humor to emphasize that therapy is a normal process and not a sign of weakness.
"More than 43 million Americans struggle with mental illness. And countless more could use someone to talk to during stressful moments in their lives," says Chris Martin, creative director, art, at DiGo (DiMassimo Goldstein), the agency that created the campaign. "Yet most people don't get the help they need. We want to destigmatize therapy by showing that mental health is just as important as physical well-being."
Four ads, running on broadcast and social, show people in a fixable jam who would rather tough things out or solve their problem on their own. TikTok and Instagram creators are also encouraged to create their own videos.
In the spot above, when spotty electricity plagues a home, one resident laments that they can figure out the problem themselves. "I'm sure it's just a phase," responds a woman, after she falls and takes a bookshelf down with her.
Below, when a man gets stuck under a barbell at the gym, he shrugs off help, noting that "you don't know my family, man. If my parents or brothers, sisters or cousins ever found out."
Remaining ads show a cowboy attempting to walk off a snake bite and a sky diver with a faulty parachute rebuffing assistance. "Sometimes, you just need some help," closes each ad. "So if you need therapy, find a licensed therapist at BetterHelp.com."
DiGo worked with production company Imperial Woodpecker, director Andrew Jasperson and Arcade Editorial on the campaign.
"We heard in research that one of the barriers to therapy is that some people—particularly young and middle-aged men—don't ask for help in fear of appearing weak," Paul Fix, executive creative director at DiGo, tells Muse "This was the behavior we needed to change."
"So when our summer copywriting intern, Bingxin Zhang, presented the phrase, 'If your house is on fire, you call the fire department' during a scrum with the entire creative department, we all went, 'Right.' Senior copywriter Rachel Koren and CDs Matty Poitras and Chris Martin started playing with it, and came up with an idea: 'What if your house was on fire and you didn't call the fire department?' Because that's what people suffering with mental health are doing when they don't seek therapy."
Mark DiMassimo, Creative Chief
Paul Fix, Executive Creative Director
Matty Poitras, Group Creative Director
Chris Martin, Creative Director
Rachel Koren, Senior Copywriter
Bingxin Zhang, Copy Intern
Lesley Bielby, Co-CEO & Chief Strategy Officer
Jess Lloyd, Group Strategy Director
Luiza Mizrahi, Brand Strategist
Evelyn Borgatta, Head of Client Experience
Kyle Ortman, Brand Supervisor
Karen Tomlin, Head of Integrated Production
Jensine Mattis, Production Intern
James Imrie, Creative Director at BetterHelp
Imperial Woodpecker (Production)
Andrew Jasperson, Director
Maria Secco, Cinematographer
Charlie Cocuzza, Producer
Arcade Editorial (Edit)
Sean LaGrange, Editor, Arcade Edit
Andrew Cravotto, Producer, Arcade Edit
Kath Raisch, Colorist, Company 3
Steve Rosen, Sound Designer/Mix Engineer
Justine Cortale, Producer, Sonic Union (edited)