Advertising can be a difficult issue when it comes to touchy subjects. The advertiser doesn’t want to encourage a certain behavior but scare tactics don’t always work well either. A new campaign for men ages 25 to 64 takes on the subject of mental health and suicide in a much different way than has ever been done before.
The campaign is based out of Colorado,which has the sixth highest suicide rate in the country, and tries to take a lighthearted approach to this serious subject. The campaign created a website for men to go to where they come face-to-face with Dr. Rich Mahogany. Dr. Mahogany, who reminds me of Will Ferrell’s character in Anchorman, is the man behind the serious information but he is also able to bring humor to the issue through his slightly crude language and manly jokes.
The website is completely interactive with Dr. Mahogany following the “patient” around his office and helping them explore. When the mouse is idle, so is the doctor while he simply sits in his chair staring at you through the computer screen, waiting for the user to make their next move.
The chief exectutive of Cactus, Joseph Conrad, explained to the New York Times the hardships men with mental illness struggle with, “the stigma around mental health for men is even greater than it is for the general population. We thought humor would really crack that stigma and draw men in.”
Cactus, the Colorado Office for Suicide Prevention, and the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, the companies behind the campaign, will launch a video statewide on July 17th and it also plans to promote the website and Dr. Mahogany through drink coasters, restroom posters, and billboards.
Although I was skeptical about the campaign when I first read about it, after looking into the website and watching the videos, it seems like this campaign might actually have a positive effect. Right now, there isn’t much information targetting this specific group, so if humor does the trick, more power to them.