As the country endures record unemployment and both economic and public health upheaval, interest in coping techniques and stress-relief is surging. Headspace, the popular meditation company, announced Thursday it is offering free subscriptions to those in the U.S. who have lost their jobs, and promoting the effort with its first TV campaign.
On Thursday, unemployment reports found that 3 million more Americans filed for claims last week—the two-month total is now 36.5 million, according to the New York Times.
"Over the last few months, we've seen a sharp rise in Headspace usage as people around the world sought new ways to support their mental health during the public health crisis,” said Deb Hyun, VP of global marketing at Santa Monica, California-based Headspace, in a statement. She noted that downloads of Headspace’s app doubled in mid-March and more users than usual completed a course entitled “Stressed.” Headspace—which started 10 years ago as an events company but evolved into a mindfulness-focused brand—recently conducted a survey that found 59 percent of Americans labeled mental health as “more important” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new 30-second spot is a look at how mindfulness can help consumers cope, and explains the free offering to unemployed Americans. Animated faces illustrate the many changing moods and stresses that many are facing. “During this crisis, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, leaving many feeling stressed and anxious,” a voiceover says. “And most of us just don’t know how to deal with it. But we can try, by taking time to look after our minds.” The commercial shows a plant growing into a happier orange sun, before closing with the tagline “Be kind to your mind.”
Headspace worked with Gut on the effort, its first time working with the Miami-based agency. Gut won the project following a pitch, according to a Headspace spokeswoman, who says the ad is national and will run across broadcast, cable and streaming video. Headspace has also created six new meditations in a “Living through unemployment” collection, including sessions on “Adapting to sudden change” and “Sadness and loss” that will be available for download this month. To sign up for free service, consumers need to register at a special section of Headspace’s site for the unemployed. The company is also working with the governors of New York and Michigan on free content for residents.
Other meditation apps such as Simple Habit and Wave Meditation have also increased their offerings during the pandemic.