Chris Hughes, ex-Love Island contestant and CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) ambassador, has recently been a topic of conversation on episode 75 of our web show The Friday Fizz.
For those who didn’t catch the episode or whose memories need refreshing, Hughes appeared, shirtless, in a black and white Rankin-shot advertisement that showed him introducing a new product for his fans to get excited about – bottled water. But not just any bottled water, this bottled water (called ‘L’Eau De Chris’) contained a real “Chris Hughes tear” (because obviously).
Chris was, of course, criticised heavily for his new product.
The following day, Tuesday the 10th of October – which was World Mental Health Day – a follow-up advert for L’Eau De Chris was released, revealing the true motivation behind the product, which turned out to be a ruse.
“L’Eau De Chris? No, ludicrous. Ludicrous that men bottle up their emotions” announces Hughes, who reels off shocking statistics about male suicide rates and mental health.
The tear in the bottle was a poignant metaphorical nod to the way many men feel pressured to ‘bottle up’ their emotions, and the campaign is supported by the hashtag #DontBottleItUp.
The reason this campaign is clever is that it plays on the stereotypes of reality stars as money-grabbing, shallow and all-round lacking sense.
In the past, celebrities have created or endorsed a host of questionable products, such as the Kiss Kasket, Mr. T’s Flavour Wave Oven, and Bill Wyman’s Metal Detector, to name a few. So, while people were outraged that Chris Hughes would try to sell his own tears, it’s not the most unbelievable thing to be released by a famous face looking to make more money from fans.
This campaign was particularly risky for a number of reasons. For starters, people could not pick up on the explanatory follow-up ad, people could view it as an inappropriate way to try and raise awareness for such a sensitive topic as mental health and male suicide or it could generally be misconstrued as a distasteful tactic to get people’s attention.
It’s marketing campaigns that shock people by subverting their expectations that are among the most successful because it shows thought, a tactical approach to marketing and an understanding of the public’s preconceptions of character’s such as a Love Island reality star, playing on those expectations to create something memorable.
On the topic of World Mental Health Day, +24 would just like to say that mental health is an important topic and that the #DontBottleItUp campaign is extremely important.
If you’re struggling, you can seek guidance from one of the UK’s biggest mental health charity.