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May 7, 2019
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“REAL MEALS” SPARK REAL CONTROVERSY

For Mental Health Awareness Month, Burger King partnered with Mental Health America to launch #FeelYourWay, which includes "Real Meals" like the “Pissed Meal” and the “DGAF Meal" to say it’s okay not to feel happy all the time.

Hands down, it’s powerful when a brand uses its platform to normalize a topic like mental illness in the mainstream, but we’ve got some facepalms to hand out on the approach. Skipping over the blatant shade thrown on McDonald’s “Happy Meal”, there are some iffy optics using a sensitive topic like depression to sell what many consider comfort food. It’s not entirely clear how much money Burger King will be donating to Mental Health America (unlike American Eagle, who will be donating 100% of the sales of its mental health hoodies to the Buddy Project). Mental illness is certainly more than a bad mood that could pass, and, as our friends at Crisis Text Line called out, including resources for those struggling when you’re talking about mental health is a no-brainer.
 
All of this to say, navigating the new expectations of young consumers on brands taking stands on important issues like mental health is tough work (stay tuned, more on that next week!). Despite its flaws, we applaud BK for being bold enough to start the conversation.
Image result for burger king real meals
THE QUESTIONABLE IMPACT OF 13 REASONS WHY

Netflix’s hit series13 Reasons Why, which explores why a high school girl died by suicide, came under fire at the time of its premiere in 2017. Numerous individuals and mental health orgs said it irresponsibly and unnecessarily depicted suicide and didn’t initially provide information on mental health resources, which was particularly bad given the bulk of the 6 million viewers who streamed the show in its first three days were young people.
 
This month, a study from National Institutes of Health reported youth suicide rates increased 28.9% in the month after the series premiered. While some experts say the results are more complicated than headlines let on and causation is hard to nail down, the research is re-igniting conversations about the media’s responsibility to viewers, especially when there are impressionable young people involved.
 
When asked directly last year, the majority of young viewers shared the show was relatable and helped them better understand issues of mental health, with 72% saying it was beneficial for people their age to watch. Yet many recognize the show could serve as a trigger and runs the risk of romanticization. When Teen Vogue asked high school students for their reactions back in 2017, many of them noted there was a danger to focusing on blame instead of ways of overcoming life’s challenges.
 
Netlifx’s response to the most recent findings is they are taking the issue seriously, shy of cancelling their hit—Season 3 is expected later this year. We hope they’ll take the wise criticism of these teens to heart.
 
If you or someone you know is struggling, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
ICYMI

  
See ya later, highlight reel. #RealConvo taps influencers to remove the filter.

  Non-profits, jump on it! Instagram just added a donation sticker to Stories.

  What glaad, Make-a-Wish, and Children’s Miracle Network are getting right when it comes to engaging young supporters.

  Facebook is giving young people what they want, doubling down on groups and messaging with its next redesign.

  For the first time ever, Miss America, Miss Teen USA, and Miss USA are all Black women.
Today's Quick Hit
 We’re better together. 
DoSomething Strategic (formerly TMI Strategy) is the data-driven consultancy arm of DoSomething.org. We help brands and organizations engage young people for positive social change.

Want to learn more about how we help clients activate young people?
Reply to this email to meet Meredith, our Managing Director.
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