The conversation around mental health in the U.S. has shifted over the past few years. A subject long taboo, the discussion around mental health stigma has started to take a different tone. From the death of Robin Williams, to the mental health challenges of returning veterans, there are an increasing number of stories eliciting reactions that deal with mental illness in a non-judgmental way.
This has also extended into brand partnerships. Beauty brand Philosophy has embraced challenging mental health stigma, donating 1% of all profits to mental illness-related causes through its "Hope and Grace" charity. Now, they’ve also partnered with musician Natasha Bedingfield, and agency MAS, to create a new song for women who’ve battled mental illness.
MAS founder and managing director James Alvich says this was a true partnership between Bedingfield and the brand. ""When you have an artist, depending on album release and different factors, they can just throw something that was maybe written 10 years ago and they don’t really care about," says Alvich. "We looked at the opportunity and thought, ‘This could be amazing, and it has to be handled very carefully.’ It was about creating a great song, providing a video with that, and doing all the things necessary to make this partnership work."
Bedingfield was a good match for the project, Alvich says, because she immediately connected with the idea behind the song and video, which features the images and words of women speaking up about their own struggles and hopes around mental illness. "She looked at it as an opportunity to use her gift of songwriting to do something uplifting," he says.
The result is a song that showcases Bedingfield’s powerful voice and the cause Philosophy supports without much in the way of intrusive branding. "From a brand to artist point of view, it really hinges on the brand, and their willingness to let go and trust the artist," says Alvich. "When you get to the creative part of the song, you’re hiring this person to create something—you don’t dictate exactly what they do."