Harry’s, the men’s grooming brand, is making yet another leap to link its brand to men’s mental health, with a $500,000 donation and a new campaign starring veterans with PTSD.
video, starring three different vets, aims to demystify PTSD, giving viewers insight into how common, treatable and variable the
condition can be.
“We’ve made talking about mental health part of our social mission, and connected it with our brand values of what it means to be a man,” says Lorna Peters, Harry’s vice president of marketing. “Yes, we talk to men about how they look. But there’s this expectation that men should be strong, hold everything together and that they shouldn’t show any pain.”
Veterans, she says, “are the epitome of that in our society, and we wanted to show what they have endured and some of the weight they have to carry. As a community, vets are so impacted by the stigmas around mental health.”
Part of the challenge is that while many brands have slapped yellow ribbons on plenty of products, marketers have very few interactions with real live vets, she tells Marketing Daily.
While 77% of Americans 50 and older have an immediate family member who is a veteran or actively serving, the Pew Research Center reports that percentage plummets among younger consumers. Only 57% of those between 30 and 49 can make that claim, and among those who are between 18 and 29, it’s just one third.
She says Harry’s, based in New York’s SoHo, was “very mindful” of those figures, and brought veterans in to meet with Harry’s and its partners, and talk about their experiences. “Our team is good at storytelling, but we wanted to spend times with them before deciding how to use our tools to amplify and share this message.”
The video focuses on the way three vets are moving forward, despite their PTSD. We meet Chris Ellis, who has PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, playing with his daughter, service dog, horse and motorcycle; Lana Duffy, who has a Purple Heart and founded Pathfinder Labs, which gives veterans and their friends and family members a way to rate, review, and connect with local community resources; and Miguel Ocegueda, a combat medic, who now works as HEADstrong’s program director.
Earlier this year, Harry’s generated plenty of buzz with an elaborate short film called “A Man Like You,” featuring a young boy giving manliness advice to an alien.