2020 has been a particularly tough year for mental wellness and online conversations. Now more than ever we know a simple “how are you doing?” goes a long way, but starting a candid conversation about mental health is not easy for everyone. In light of the past few months, Holler and Ad Council teamed up to pursue opportunities targeted towards making online conversations more fluid, authentic, and supportive.
Seize the Awkward
Specifically, the two collaborated with the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for the launch of the Seize the Awkward campaign. The mission of the project is an important one: to bring light to the important but often uncomfortable mental health check-ins with loved ones and, above all, offer a solution to make these conversations as comfortable and normal as possible: conversational content. A core component of the push includes a new sticker pack that helps friends and family check-in with each other about mental health during times of crisis and uncertainty.
As part of the campaign and to celebrate World Emoji Day this past Friday, Holler and Ad Council introduced Goldie & Mo — a new messaging sticker pack to help people stay connected through more expressive, empathetic digital conversations. Goldie & Mo are best friends who are committed to opening up to one another and supporting each other through their ups and downs but, like many of us, have trouble sometimes broaching the topic of mental health and knowing how to start an open dialogue. With people texting nonstop, Goldie & Mo are here to lead the way and help people find the right words across messaging platforms.
Happy #worldemojiday! To recognize how important #emojis have become in #conversations, we’ve partnered with the @AdCouncil and artist @nataliaseth to help people connect around #mentalhealth. Find out more at https://t.co/2vpPwv640T #seizetheawkward #goldieandmo pic.twitter.com/6mj2zSmr5E
— Holler (@Holler_io) July 17, 2020
“Digital communication is evolving to help us express ourselves better, allowing us to be a genuine support for someone in need. Visual content, like messaging stickers, can fill in the gap when words alone are not enough. Along with the AdCouncil and Natalia Seth, we’re excited to launch Goldie & Mo to help people start a conversation and use visuals when they’re not sure what words to say,” shared Holler CEO and Founder Travis Montaque.
Branding yourself as empathetic
As part of the campaign, the organizations are collaborating with Gen Z artist and influencer Natalia Seth and creating new phone cases with a charitable component.
Seth’s designs are being made into shoppable phone cases on caseable.com, so that people can brand themselves as an available and empathetic listener directly on their device. Proceeds from the phone cases will go to the JED Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in direct support of their continued work in prioritizing mental health, solidarity, and peer-to-peer support.
“As young people everywhere grapple with continued uncertainty, checking in on their friends’ mental health is more important than ever,” said Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer at the Ad Council. In collaboration with Holler, we’re excited to encourage them to do so in such a dynamic way across chat messaging apps, iMessage, and more.”
Expanding emoji utility
A whopping 92 percent of the online population uses emojis daily and platforms including Google have reported a 40 percent uptick in emoji use during quarantine. Whether we feel indifferent about them or not, they’re here to say and undoubtedly ingrained in our modern communication practices and habits.
In this vein, on World Emoji Day Apple, Google and Facebook also released a series of updates to their own emoji lineups. Facebook leaned in on the animation while Google emphasized diversity. For iOS14 Apple unveiled mask and headwear options to its MeMoji characters.
As marketers it is crucial we find opportunities to normalize these often difficult conversations and leverage our platforms to make them easier to navigate. Conversations are increasingly digital, but that doesn’t mean they inevitably will be stripped of emotion and meaning. With efforts like these, we can progress in how we practice empathy online and enhance our relationships both digitally and in-person.
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