To mark World Mental Health Day 2017, charity CALM wanted to highlight that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and encourage men to discuss their feelings.
Love Island star Chris Hughes, famed for shedding a tear on air, was signed up. However, research by W pointed to apathy, cynicism and even hostility to campaigns fronted by celebrities.
Research also found 84 per cent of UK men admitted to "bottling up" their emotions. So, in a spoof of a typical endorsement, the campaign focused on L’Eau de Chris: a bottled water infused with a genuine Chris Hughes tear.
The ‘launch’, with Topman, on 9 October featured a video by Rankin and was backed by Instagram advertising depicting Hughes in shorts, a tear rolling down his cheek. The video was viewed 823,000 times and, as hoped, sparked confusion, bemusement and outrage – although Evening Standard, The Sun and Shortlist were among titles in on the act.
Next day, in a briefing at Topman’s flagship store, Hughes revealed that the product wasn’t L’Eau de Chris, but "lu-di-crous" – just like bottling up emotions.
In the first 2 days, the work generated 90 national and lifestyle articles, 14 broadcast features and 120 million social impressions; visits to the CALM website by men aged 18-45 rose 1,800 per cent.
"Brilliant idea with a compelling plot – a very rare achievement – and a great twist in the tale"
When Love Island star Chris Hughes announced via Instagram he was partnering with TOPMAN to launch a bottled water infused with his tears, it provoked a mixture of ridicule, shock and backlash from public and media alike.
At a media launch on World Mental Health Day, and broadcast live on Facebook, the real purpose of was revealed. It was not L'Eau de Chris, but 'ludicrous' that young men continue to bottle about their feelings about anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings. The campaign drove a 1800% increase in visits to the CALM website where young men in crisis can seek help.