On Monday October 9, UK model and (UK reality dating show) Love Island star, Chris Hughes, tweeted that he was launching a new mineral water brand the following day through Topman – a mineral water infused with his own tears. Accompanying the tweet was the launch ad, shot by Rankin.
I’m launching my first ever product in partnership with @Topman
— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes_22) October 9, 2017
L’Eau de Chris was later shown up to be ludicrous – by Hughes, who is in fact, the new ambassador for the charity, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), following his own struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide.
At the London launch event on the 10th (World Mental Health Day), the “launch” was revealed to be a stunt, the preface to a campaign, #DontBottleItUp, by UK agency, BMB, for CALM.
Simon Gunning, chief executive officer of CALM, explained, “Both on and off screen, Chris has been widely praised for opening up about his emotions. As an Ambassador for CALM and the face of the #DontBottleItUp campaign, Chris will use his profile to help us to challenge a culture that prevents men from opening up and seeking help when they need it. With suicide continuing to be the single biggest killer of young men in the UK, it’s vital that we show that it’s okay to open up and ask for help.”
In the real campaign film, Hughes interrupts his Rankin ad to talk to the camera about how ludicrous it is for men to bottle up their feelings.
84% of UK men admit to doing this according to YouGov data, with more than 50% saying they suppress their emotions often or at least once a day. Additionally, 62% of younger men (18-24 years old) say they regularly hide their feelings. The research also shows that men feel pressured to do this to be “manly”, although 52% of UK men are fine with another man opening up to them.
The mineral water was, in fact, produced. The limited edition run of L’Eau de Chris water bottles created for the campaign launch is to be auctioned at thecalmzone.net/dontbottleitup with all proceeds going to support the charity. Topman will also donate £2 from every pair of boxers sold in October to CALM.
Chris Hughes commented, “What’s really ludicrous is that suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to ‘man up’ and bottle things up. That’s why I’ve become an Ambassador for CALM and why together with Topman we want to show men across the UK that it’s okay to open up instead of bottling it up. I’ve got personal experience of the benefits of opening up and expressing emotion, which is why I want to work with this incredible charity in its mission to making life less miserable for men across the UK. Our message to all guys is: however you open up, just #DontBottleItUp.”
Jules Chalkley, chief creative officer, BMB, noted, “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. It’s vital that we shift the cultural norms at scale so that when men need help, they feel able to ask for it. Working in an incredible collaboration with Chris Hughes, Topman, Rankin and CALM we wanted to create a moment in time that is highly disruptive and that encourages men not to bottle up their emotions.”
Creative Agency: BMB
Copywriter: Lauren Peters
Art Director: Augustine Cerf
Agency Producers: Catherine Griffiths & Jade Evans
Senior Account Manager: Jamie Weeks
Head Of Strategy: Adam Leigh (W Communications)
Head Of PR & Activation: David Frossman
Chief Executive Officer: Warren Johnson (W Communications)
Associate Director Business Affairs: Grace Henwood
Account Management: Jeff Ingold, Holly Glackin, Ben Clark, Gabby Griffin & James Delamare
Production Company: Rankin
Producer: Kat Hackethal
Sound Design: Tom Heddy @ Wave
Editors: Dan Fernbach & Gareth Philips
Post Production: James Bamford @ The Mill