Amazon, Ad Council: Music Can Help Parents Connect With Teens on Mental Health

'When you can't say it, play it'

Amazon's music library boasts more than 100 million songs. Perhaps that number includes a few tracks to help parents connect with teens who are struggling with their mental health.

Today, the tech giant joins with the Ad Council's "Sound It Out" initiative for "When You Can't Say It, Play It." Available in English and Spanish, the service generates song selections based on prompts such as "happy," "angry" or "sad." 

Parents and caregivers can use Echo devices or Alexa to share the tracks with their kids. Presumably, doing so will serve as an ice breaker and help facilitate conversations. (Music is the universal language, after all).

Amazon Ads' Brand Innovation Lab produced the film, working with directors Blair Macdonald and Oliver Clark, aka Novemba. Ambar Lucid's upbeat "A Letter to My Younger Self" plays on the soundtrack. 

"We know parents and caregivers everywhere have experienced hitting the 'I'm fine' barrier," says Ad Council chief campaign development officer Heidi Arthur. "Through this interactive feature, we can provide them with the tools—like sharing a beautiful song—to break through and normalize checking in."

Wisely, the program doesn't over-promise. This is top-funnel stuff, a way, one hopes, to bring a smile to someone's face and, perhaps, draw them out of themselves. Even sending an uncool song might pay off, evoking an "Oh, Mom, that's so lame!" response that leads to more discussions. At any rate, young people will know that someone cared enough to reach out.

Along with Lucid, artists including Nico Craig, JJ Hairston and Carla Morrison will provide outreach on social. 

"As openly transgender, I often feel misunderstood," Craig says. "I've been told by people that my mother should't even love me because of my identity. So, I put on certain songs that remind me my mom will always love and embrace me no matter the obstacles I endure and bigotry I face."

The campaign follows last year's lauded Amazon-Ad Council collaboration, "Alexa, What Is Love?" That one updated the voice assistant's responses with words from diverse humans.

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