Today is Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk day to help raise money for mental health initiatives, and I have to speak up, not just for the cause itself, but for the concept as well.
For every text message sent from a Bell user, mobile and long distance call, and maybe most importantly, every tweet with the #BellLetsTalk hashtag and Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image, Bell is donating 5¢ to mental health initiatives.
It’s a good cause, and one that we don’t hear often enough. There are a lot of causes in Canada that we hear a lot about, including cancer, heart disease, and hospital funding, but to my knowledge I don’t know of any other big cause supporting mental health.
That said, the campaign is wrapped up in the Bell branding, and I know some people have taken umbrage with that. Over on Twitter, @CPnewsboy made that point clear, and while I’m not trying to be a jerk about it, I think his point is worth talking about.
Remember when corporations would help promote awareness of issues like mental illness without slapping their brand all over it? Me either.
— Keith Leslie (@CPnewsboy) January 28, 2014
On the one hand, it would be great if Bell setup an arms-length organization to raise this money once a year (or more often) and not bask in the Bell branding, however, does it really matter about the branding in the first place? Bell might have their image all over this campaign, but I don’t see how it’s selling their product–it’s just tied into their brand image, and that’s part of the power of making it effective.
Say what you will, but people respond to brands and ideas, and that’s evident by how the SickKids Foundation raises money, or the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s fair to say that all major causes are tied into branding because it makes them identifiable, and it connects people to that cause, making them more willing to get involved.
As Canadians, a lot of us have income we could spread out and share with great causes, and that’s important. For Let’s Talk day, the best part is that it’s spreading the word that mental health is important, and we need to do more about it, and it’s actually free to contribute. You don’t have to give Bell money to contribute–you just have to tweet or share a little on Facebook.
I’m all for companies getting more involved in gifting to important causes, and I’d like to see Bell step up and give even more for this cause, but for now this is a great start. You can learn more about the specific Bell outreach at letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives/.