In January 2019, creative agency, Promotional Elements started the new year with a campaign to raise awareness about mental health in the workplace. Reaching out to current and prospective clients, the company delivered a creative letter printed on parchment paper and packaged inside a unique style of water bottle. The message inside included this passage:

Traditionally this method of communication was used by castaways to advertise their distress to the outside world. When it comes to mental health in the workplace, we’re not so quick to advertise, or recognize, distress.

The message invited the contact to join the conversation, and to participate in an online survey about awareness of mental health sensitivity within their company. Participants would receive a complimentary gift for their contribution.  The back of the message featured a treasure map that included icons depicting workplace challenges, as well as the product gifts that would soon follow and the tags for the company social media pages.

Jennifer Waterston, a creative team member, says:

“We wanted to start the year with something different.  We talked about the idea of mindful branding, and teaching clients how to use their common promotional products for a greater purpose.  Whether it’s awareness of a social issue or support for a community, we see a lot of opportunity for corporate swag to play a bigger role in cause marketing.”

What followed behind the message in a bottle was a Black Label gift box designed in partnership with Debco Solutions. Inside were four feature product samples, each decorated with the new company brand as well as a fitting theme for promotion of
mental health awareness. A brochure was inlaid in the box top, opening to reveal four headlines: Relax, Recharge, Refocus and Reconnect.


Message in a Bottle: A Campaign Case Study

The Result

“We worked with the Debco team to select new products and create decoration that would illustrate how you can include a corporate
brand with a social message fitting the product. We chose mental health as our awareness example because we were all inspired by
Bell’s Let’s Talk day.

In conversation we discovered how many members on our team have had mental health challenges affect their lives, and that this is a cause we can continue to promote all year long. It’s an everyday message.”

Here are just some of the responses Promotional Elements received after the #LetsTalk kits were delivered:

" WOW!!!... Jenn, I am very impressed with all the products and want to use our marketing dollars to promote the business and good mental health. This could be a great way of communicating with the National Sales Team forum in 2020. I would like to get a quote for all 4 items… Going to mention the message in a bottle to our HR department...
Great way to communicate with employees in joining the conversation about mental health."

" Thanks for the box of goodies—I just opened the box! The pop-up lantern is my favorite—I can’t help but stare at it! Your mindful branding approach is great. I know how difficult it can be to tie in an item with an event or program. I will be sharing your ideas with the team, hopefully we will be placing an order soon."

" I would like to thank you so much for the incredible gift set you sent me. I really appreciate and value the important message behind the “Mindful Branding” communication. It speaks loudly and I will be sharing the ideas along with our teams here as part of our next employee-based project. It is about time we focused on “Mental Health” awareness!"

Related Features

The experience starts with a bottle—seafoam green with a cork lid. Through the transparent body you see a scroll rolled tight, bound with twine.  It didn’t wash up on the shore at your feet, but the drama of receiving this unexpected package at your desk raises your curiosity to uncover the message inside.