Digital Marketing
6 min

Time Out: Support Audiences With Wellness-Focused Ads This Election Season

Eliza Brashares Associate Director, Consumer Strategy

Mental health has become an increasingly widespread, generation-spanning issue for American consumers. From the economy to current events, many audiences have been facing high stress in recent years–and the upcoming 2024 presidential election is poised to make already anxious customers even more stressed.

This year’s election is shaping up to be intense, with audiences more politically charged and divided than ever. Marketers need to adjust their strategies to prepare for changes in ad costs, consumer volatility, and more. 

But there’s also an opportunity for brands to break through negative news and online content with uplifting messaging, especially with mental health and wellness-focused content. As the election draws closer, brands should consider how they can take a positive approach with ads and messaging that give audiences a break from the stress.

Positive content can refresh consumers in an election year

2024 is likely to be particularly challenging for audiences and brands alike. Many consumers feel that 2024 is a redo of the 2020 election; some are reacting with apathy, while others are anxious. 

The charged environment, especially in online spaces like social media platforms, means marketers need to be cautious about the messaging they put out. Your team should get on the same page about where your brand stands on addressing political issues and find the right message that speaks to your particular audience.

You can also leverage the heightened attention around the election in a more positive way. Because there are more engaged users online when these highly-discussed events are happening, there’s an opportunity for savvy brands to reach them. 

Your brand may or may not want to take a specific political stance, but you can make a statement by supporting wellness during the election instead. Marketers can do this by creating ads and other messaging that give people a much-needed time-out from political content and prioritize their audience’s well-being during a challenging time. Something funny, comforting, or supportive might be just what the doctor ordered for weary customers. 

Supportive content will likely appeal to consumers more than political ads: according to eMarketer, Americans are more interested in companies making statements on topics like mental health and climate change than they are in hearing from brands on more controversial issues like religion, politics, and abortion. 

Chart of subjects US adults believe businesses should take a public stance on

Source: eMarketer

Of course, this all depends on your brand’s specific audience and their needs. You should pay close attention to your customers’ preferences and make a strategy based on the people you’re trying to reach. Your message also needs to be authentic to your brand. Inauthenticity is one of the surest ways well-intentioned messages can backfire.

How brands can leverage uplifting content to win

If you’re looking to make a statement about mental wellness this election year, there are lots of ways to do that, from calming content to humorous ads poking fun at the stress of current events.

When choosing the right message for your brand, consider your audience demographics and preferences and what’s appropriate for your product or service. Different kinds of ads will work for different industries.

One way to bring a calming presence to your audience’s social media feeds and TV screens is by presenting ads with relaxing images and sounds. Some brands might choose to do ASMR content or videos of natural landscapes. 

For example, the mental health app Calm bought media placements on election night to show a calming ad with rain falling on leaves. These ads made a statement about Calm’s commitment to supporting their audience during a particularly anxiety-provoking moment. Viewers also see similar relaxing videos when watching YouTube TV, which plays ads that give viewers a chance to chill with scenes like mountain views.

Brands can also choose to address the election more head-on. That could mean popping up with calming messaging on or around election day or taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach with jokes about election week. The Clorox Company took this approach when they ran live activations in New York City on election day in 2020 to advertise their CALM magnesium supplements. They gave visitors to their pop-ups a chance to listen to relaxing music, sample their magnesium gummies, and take “Keep CALM and Vote” stickers. gave customers a more light-hearted take on relaxation by sponsoring one winner to “live under a rock” with a five-night stay in underground accommodations in New Mexico during election week in 2020.

Striking the right note in a stressful time

Sharing wellness-related content and expressing an interest in your audience’s mental health allows you to address the election in a non-political way–but that doesn’t mean you can fully opt out of the election. It just means addressing current events in a supportive, less direct way.

If you choose to incorporate wellness-focused content into your strategy, it’s important to consider how potential audiences might interpret that messaging first. You should have a diverse group of people on your team review your positioning and creative ahead of time to make sure you’ve considered how different members of your audience might see it. Stay aware of the context you’re advertising in, and consider future events that might impact your ads’ meaning.

While it’s great to be positive, the last thing you want to do is sound inconsiderate or out of touch with current events and rub your audience the wrong way. That’s especially important when releasing funny ads, which can easily come off as insensitive.

Consider what your customers are looking for from your company–do they come to your business for a fun, silly experience aligned with a joke ad? Or is your brand more reserved and better suited to something more low-key? No matter how you choose to give your customers a moment of calm this election season, make sure you’re staying true to your brand’s voice and your audience’s needs. 

Looking for more insights to build your 2024 media strategy? Check out our white paper for everything you need to know about the future of media convergence.


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