Maybelline is launching Brave Together, a new global philanthropic platform aimed at raising mental health awareness and supporting people with anxiety and depression.
It is an ambitious initiative. The L’Oréal-owned brand has pledged $10 million over the next five years to mental health organizations worldwide. The brand has also created a mental health education web site in partnership with organizations such as Crisis Text Line, Columbia University, National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Jed Foundation. With Crisis Text Line, Maybelline is also planning to launch a co-branded text line for people to have anonymous access to free mental health resources and support.
“We know that one in five people are living with anxiety or depression, including an astonishing number of women — they’re more than twice as likely as men [to live with anxiety or depression],” said Trisha Ayyagari, global brand president, Maybelline New York. “We want to support them on their mental health journey, and know they’re not alone — it aligns closely with our values.”
In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic and a new civil rights movement in the U.S., consumers are demanding now more than ever that brands speak out against social injustice.
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“It’s becoming a responsibility for those brands who are fortunate enough to have a big platform to support our community in any way possible,” Ayyagari said. “Our community is diverse, we have a large female audience — a young female audience — and this aligns with our brand DNA. It’s critical to show support to our community to create awareness around a subject that is important to them and to help provide resources where we can.”
Brave Together has been in the works for more than two years. The brand works closely with Columbia University in New York to produce research on triggers for anxiety and depression. “We’ve basically surrounded ourselves with experts,” Ayyagari said. “All with the goal of providing knowledge to our audience.”
Maybelline’s co-branded text line, in partnership with Crisis Text Line, is yet to launch. Ayyagari is hoping the text line will encourage those are are hesitant to talk about mental health issues to open up. “A lot of people have trouble talking about anxiety and depression and we thought reaching out through text was the easiest way,” she said.
The Brave Together launch is coming at a challenging time for the makeup category, as sales across both prestige and mass plunge due to the COVID-19 crisis. L’Oréal’s consumer group, which includes Maybelline, saw sales dip 15.2 percent in the second quarter.
“It’s been very challenging — makeup has been way down,” Ayyagari said. “But it’s been an exceptional opportunity to connect with our consumer on social media. We asked our consumers, ‘What would you like to hear from us during this time? They’re surrounded by bad news and not leaving their homes. Across the board we heard so many responses of, ‘We just want tips and tricks, we want you to make us feel good — and thats what we’ve been doing over the last several months, we’ve created a lot of content to basically entertain consumers in their home.”