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3 Brands Getting In Young Consumers’ Heads With Wellness Experiences

Brands know that Gen Z & Millennials care about their mental health and wellness, so more are getting involved in the space by bringing anxiety-relieving activities to young consumers in the form of pop-up experiences…

Mental health is a major priority for Gen Z & Millennials. Our latest Health & Fitness Topline shows that over half of Gen Z & Millennials have visited a mental health professional and we found in our Wellness Intensified trend report that nearly a quarter have increased their related spending in the past year. But just because mental health is a topic they’re interested in for their personal well-being, does that mean brands belong in the space—even if they’re trying to help? On the extreme end of the argument, Racked reports that mental health advice and initiatives from big brands could be interpreted as “emotional manipulation” and that brands are just trying to say, “‘We’re good people and we’re not just after your money.’”

Of course, some brands have faced backlash for trying to take on mental health. Case in point: Burger King.  Their “Real Meals” campaign, which played on Happy Meals not catering to every emotion, was seen as “woke-washing” by many—reports Marketing Dive. But whether you believe retailers should be playing psychologist or not, consumers do have a desire “‘for tools and answers to find their way.’” And brands are providing them via savvy marketing efforts and in-person experiences—a way to win over and help young consumers at the same time.

One way we’ve seen brands getting in Gen Z and Millennials’ heads is by taking on the stress-relieving internet trend that is ASMR, but we’re also seeing them a take a more straight-forward approach. Several are offering wellness activities in-person to young consumers, and (spoiler alert) they almost always include meditation. Here are three brands we’ve seen get creative with how they mix marketing and mental health:

1. Recess

Recess’s pop-up experience is for meditating, working, and of course, trying the brand’s CBD-infused sparkling water. Creatives had the chance to sip on the anti-anxiety beverage and attend programs like “An Oddly Satisfying Sunday.” Adweek reports that this is the beverage brand’s first marketing foray off of Instagram. Their founder explains that they’re using the experience to build a community that sees them as a lot more than the LaCroix of cannabis: “We have a very clear mission and purpose behind our brand and, in many ways, I try not to think of us as a beverage company.”

2. Air Wick

Air Wick is putting meditation sessions on wheels to promote their new 24/7 scent-delivering product. AListDaily reports that the Air Wick 24/7 Fresh Truck drove around NYC for one day, offering five-minute meditation sessions and other relaxing experiences. And all of those experiences will be paired with the brand’s best scents, combining product promotion with stress relief. Stressed Millennial moms are the target audience for the new product, as they set out to save a little time and stress by neutralizing odors around the clock.

3. Michelob Ultra

Meditation-based pop-up experiences seem to be the most popular to get in the heads of young consumers, and Michelob set the bar high with their guided mass meditation this year at SXSW. Following an ASMR marketing campaign, they made headlines for their guided meditation at the annual experiential event, according to Adweek. At sunset, they led the crowd through what they called The Big Quiet, gently nudging everyone back into the noisy festival with the help of music artist Miguel. The activation continues the quiet theme of their ASMR Super Bowl campaign, which was a hit on YouTube.