I collaborated with my team to research the situation, interview mental health professionals and men from all walks of life, and concept a solution. I also wrote all website copy and the brand manifesto.
THE TEAM: Joe Baumgardner, Mark Thompson, Morgan Garber (all creative brand managers)
Develop a cause-based campaign about anything.
We stumbled upon a glaring gap in cause-based work: men's mental health. Not only was there hardly any research on the subject, but there were no remotely recent campaigns in the U.S. addressing men's mental health.
After talking to psychologists, academics, and men from all walks of life, we realized two important things:
1. Mental illness in males all stems from stereotypes—our culture has certain stereotypical, unrealistic expectations of men. Men internalize these expectations and develop mental illness when they feel like they don't measure up.
2. Men are socialized to avoid talking about their problems, especially with topics like mental illness.
Start a conversation about men's mental illness by exposing the stereotypes that men face and the way that those stereotypes affect them.
Realistically, an issue this big would need more than just a campaign, so we created the Untype Initiative—a new organization in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
No one likes to have tough conversations, especially not men who have been told to keep their feelings to themselves their entire lives. So we created a non-scary way to get the conversation started: a 16-bit game that allows players to identify their own stereotypes (think a Buzzfeed quiz transported into a 16-bit world).
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We also created a full website for the Untype Initiative.