The advertising industry’s decision to prioritize mental health is a move that will have many positive effects.
Mental health issues affect many people across industries -- especially during the COVID-19 pandemic -- but I didn’t pay much attention to the effect of this on people across the advertising industry until Advertising Week launched a full track focused on mental health, and I received information from Tinuiti stating that the company gave employees a few days off so they could take care of their mental health.
“Tinuiti has a culture that works to protect employees’ mental wellness and offers numerous resources including two mandatory mental health paid time off and flexible hours to address burnout,” said Tinuiti CEO Zach Morrison.
Morrison made the decision to give all Tinuiti employees four days off -- six, including the weekend. All away from the office. The goal is to recharge after a year of virtual meetings and stress.
The digital agency -- Tinuiti, one of the largest independent performance marketing firms across Google, Facebook, and Amazon, with nearly $3 billion in digital media under management -- grew during the pandemic.
In January 2020, the company employed about 640. Now it has more than 950 employees.
Morrison used the time to pick his kids up from school, go fishing, grab lunch with friends he has not seen in a while, spend time with his wife during daytime hours, meet with mentors and long-time colleagues, and catch up on some overdue doctor appointments.
Advertising Week launched several panels on mental health. Monday’s panel -- Under Pressure, taking a Break for Mental Health -- focused on a variety of industries from sports to entertainment, with an analysis of social media and how journalists treat people who work in these industries, holding them to a higher standard.
Despite the focus of the panel, the message to be kind to the mind resonates. “Your brain is the most powerful muscle in your body,” said Andrea Jordan, founder of The AJ Standard, during the panel discussion. “If that’s not right, then nothing else will fall into place.”
Entertainers and athletes have been creating their own platforms to reach fans, bypassing traditional methods based on their need to protect their mental health. Some brands are doing the same by launching ways to reach consumers to bypass retail such as Purple Mattress.
“The media needs emotional intelligence,” said Lori Rubinson, talk show host at WFAN. "Just because something has been done a certain way forever, doesn’t mean it should continue. … if the media doesn’t alter their approach in how they hold a press conference or interact with athletes, especially in group settings, they are in danger of being cut out.”
She gave the example of Kyrie Irving, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets. He has his own platform and will use it to reach fans. Irving refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and the Brooklyn Nets won’t let him be a “full participant” until he does.