Commentary

A Fit Mind: Pro Athletes Promote Mental Health For Ad Council Spot

Marking the latest iteration of its seven-month-old “Love, Your Mind” mental health campaign, the Ad Council Thursday morning premiered the first salvo in a partnership with 11 major pro sports leagues and organizations.

A 90-second spot  begins with NBA star Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks) patting his chest before moving on to show other athletes practicing their pre-game rituals. “They’re steps we take to lift us up and keep us going,” says a voiceover “Because being your best isn’t just about taking care of your body, it’s about taking care of your mind and your mental health.

“It’s important to have ways to handle stress, anxiety or anything else that comes your way,” the spot concludes, while directing viewers to find “the resources you need” at LoveYourMindToday.org.

Besides the NBA, the participating leagues and organizations are, in alphabetical order: MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NFL, NHL, NWSL, PRCA, USTA, WNBA and WWE.

(If you’re like me, the ones you can't identify might include the NWSL -- National Women’s Soccer League -- and PRCA -- Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.)

The latter did provide my favorite quote from a bevy provided by the Ad Council: “Being cowboy-tough doesn’t mean you can’t ‘Love Your Mind,’” said Paul Woody, PRCA chief marketing officer.

All the leagues and organizations provided footage, like Brunson’s, for use in PSAs, and all but the WWE also had one athlete film customized campaign materials. The WWE, in fact, provided two athletes.

Pharma & Marketing Insider caught up with Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s chief campaign development officer, to talk about “Love, Your Mind” and this massive pro sports tie-in.

In fact, this isn’t the first time the Council has teamed up with all those leagues and organizations, the first being for a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

In addition to the launch spot, Arthur says to expect 30-second and shorter versions, along with other spots featuring the custom footage from those 12 athletes, social media outreach and lots of material on the “Love, Your Mind” website.

She notes that several of the leagues/organizations “have their own mental health initiatives and this just felt very synergistic with the work they do.”

Sports, she says, allows the Ad Council -- and the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, its co-presenter of the “Love, Your Mind” campaign -- to leverage “the emotional relationship and dedication” of fans by using athletes and teams “who people look up to and really believe.”

Creative for the new campaign elements has been developed by the Walton Isaacson agency, which brought RadicalMedia on board for production. The original “Love, Your Mind” idea was created by FCB.

The sports leagues and organizations, Arthur says, will provide social media amplification, support on their owned media channels, media partnerships and more through 2024 and beyond.

“Love, Your Mind,” whose previous collaborations have included Black Players for Change, the American Farm Bureau and Sesame Workshop, has driven more than 650,000 visits to LoveYourMindToday.org since launching in October 2023, Arthur notes.

“This program is designed to provide really tangible, culturally relevant tips, tools and resources for people to take care of their mental health,” Arthur says, and Ad Council research shows it’s working.

Of those who are aware of at least one of the campaign’s PSAs, she reveals, 74% now agree that “taking care of their mental health is a top priority.”

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