Is Burger King's 'Feel Your Way' ad impactful enough to spread mental health awareness?

Industry experts say that the ad film was able to connect with the audience through empathy

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: May 7, 2019 8:37 AM
burger king

The month of May is regarded as Mental Health month by the Mental Health of America Association. Keeping this month in mind, fast food giant, Burger King produced the ad film #FeelYourWay to spread awareness of mental health whilst introducing their new menu range called ‘Real Meals’. 

We spoke to industry experts on whether the ad film instills brand awareness or not, whether the theme of mental health awareness was portrayed clearly to the audience and why there is a lack of such ad films in India. 

Nilanjan Dasgupta, EVP & Executive Creative Director, Rediffusion said what stands out about this piece of communication in connection to the brand is the way they have integrated the product by innovating the ‘meals’ and naming them. “The idea is relevant to today's youth as global mental health statistics reveal one in four people in the world is experiencing mental health problems currently. In terms of competition, by addressing the mental health issue they have tactfully dealt against McDonald's Happy Meals”, he remarked,

Dasgupta added that the ad definitely creates brand awareness as it taps into the right consumer psyche of today's youth. He stated, “The job here is not to create a ‘call for action’ but to spread the awareness regarding mental health and getting associated with the cause.” 

On the other hand, Raghu Bhat, Founder & Copywriter, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi felt that the ad film doesn't create empathy for mental health patients which is the main objective. The main reason for this is their characterisation in the video. “The attempt to cast the patients as 'victims' and 'heroes' leads to a caricature that fails to connect emotionally. It doesn't tell the viewer a compelling story of what Burger King is doing to support the cause”, remarked Bhat. 

Speaking about social ads in India, Dasgupta pointed out, “The campaign done by Deepika Padukone’s ‘Live Love Laugh’ foundation seemed realistic with #NotAshamed campaign. The testimonials had a feeling of being real and authentic. It also empowered people to talk freely about their mental problems breaking the social stigma.”

Talking about why India is lacking behind in such ad films Dasgupta stated, “Mental health is still not talked about in India. So we shouldn’t be expecting brands to get associated with it on a larger scale. However, there’s a need to do that and hopefully, the brands who can get associated with a relevant insight will surely do it in the future.” 

Bhat is of the opinion that the lack of such social approach ads is due to depression being an issue that needs to be talked about, even in India. “Brands like to associate with 'visible' causes and this isn't one. So, the communication needs to work much harder to educate”, remarked Bhat.

Krittika Chakraborty, AVP, Strategic Planning & Planning Head (Bangalore), Dentsu Impact says that the film does more than creating brand awareness, it creates empathy. “As a brand that takes on the entire platform of individuality in taste and form, extending this core into the domain of mental health is an inspiring proposition. What is even more inspiring is tying that in with a simple product innovation that breaks the forced stereotype that every eating out occasion is supposed to be a happy one. There is sincerity in the tone of voice, so much so that the obvious dig at a prominent competitor who is known for ‘happy meals’ is handled well and stops short of being gimmicky”, stated Chakraborty.

The ad film has the ability to awaken people to this reality, which most would relate to but not many would acknowledge given the constant social pressure to be a certain way. Chakraborty said, “The theme of mental health is not a very obvious connect, the ad is more in the zone of the different emotions that people go through on any given day. The mental health angle only comes through at the end through the CTA and is not a very deep connection.”

“Brands like Mirinda’s Release the Pressure and Prega News’s attempt at taking on the taboo topic of post-natal depression are all steps in the right direction. But a lot still needs to be said and done to make this extremely relevant issue a part of the Indian social consciousness”, remarked Chakraborty. 

For Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Group the ad definitely created relevant brand awareness. “The strategy is prudent to not only brand awareness but awareness of mental health as well. It is sensitively done in a graceful manner”, remarked Kapoor.  

Ankit Nalotia, Founder, Mo Mantra said that Burger King and McDonald's are the pioneers of brand war sagas. "This ad unequivocally is an attempt made to take on McDonald's Happy Meal. The lyrical narrative #FeelYourWay barely hints at the product and keeps the audience guessing until the end. This new commercial on mental health is hoisting the importance of emotional wellness and is expanding discourses around topics like depression and peer pressure. They are not selling meals. They are selling emotions", commented Nalotia.

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