ITV’s Britain Get Talking: Why the stars aren’t aligned

ITVWith the nation’s mental well-being more fragile than Donald Trump’s hair-do, there has never been a greater need to bring the issue to the fore, so the timing of Mental Health Awareness Week – running from May 18 to 24 – could not have been better.

Enter the latest leg of ITV’s “Britain Get Talking” campaign, which taps into the event in an effort to reinforce the importance of staying connected and reaching out to people who might be struggling during lockdown.

The campaign taps into YouGov research that claims 55% of the UK public are more worried than usual – whatever that is – about our families’ mental health.

ITV’s answer? Why bring out the stars, of course. What’s the point in having “ordinary folk” when you can call on the likes of Gordon Ramsey, David Walliams, Anna Freil, and, er, Loraine Kelly?

The spot sees the stars gather online, appearing at first to be catching up with each other during the lockdown over video call. With help from his daughter, Ramsey gets online, as Walliams apologises for being late because of “dad stuff” (although it sounds more like he simply can’t be arsed) and Loraine Kelly comments on it being “a funny old time” (that’s right Loraine, over 36,000 people have died).

Anna Friel seems to inadvertently sum it up by saying: “It’s like groundhog day. Do you not think that every single day is the same?” Hmm, not too sure about that, Anna, but these Zoom ads certainly are.

Still, there’s no holding them back as Will.i.am, Laura Whitmore, and Tinie Tempah join in, followed by more and more including Maggie Alphonsi, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Harry Redknapp, Davina McCall, John Barnes, Julie Etchingham, Iain Stirling, Jim Stewart, Emma Willis, Jason Watkins, Sheila Hancock, Charlene White and – of course – the ever present Ant and Dec.

Mind you, they don’t seem to be too distressed, and nor would we be if we lived in their palatial homes either.

Not that ITV would agree because, according to the blurb, the stars are pictured in an “authentic way from inside their homes with tech glitches and all, to candidly discuss the challenges during lockdown”. Really?

The ad wraps up with a call to action: “Because the ones not expecting your call could be the ones who need it most. Show a friend you’re thinking of them”, before Ramsey shows his real colours by saying: “Now, how do you turn this bloody, f***ing, c***ing thing off.” (OK, we made that bit up but you get the gist.)

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, anything that raises awareness of mental health should be applauded but, now we’ve got that out of the way, sadly we doubt this ad will do much.

Rather than help, the “stars” are either annoyingly smug, sitting in their mansions – probably their “second mansions” at that – or look like they can barely be bothered while imploring us mere mortals to “show a friend you’re thinking of them”.

That’s easy for them to say; most of them appear to be only thinking of themselves. But what about the millions of people whose future is looking bleak and are growing increasingly anxious about whether they will have a job or a home when all gets back to “normal”.  A Zoom screen full of celebs bleating on about themselves just doesn’t cut it…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A fast-forward through this one 4 out of 10

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