Marketing – Put on a happy face


Brands are in a good position to introduce happiness into the lives of consumers, says Vicky Bullen

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Brands are in a good position to introduce happiness into the lives of consumers. Vicky Bullen suggests they start doing a few good deeds

French beauty brand Happy Cosmetics claims to have discovered a ‘happiness molecule’. The company says it puts a plant based extract, which stimulates the production of b-endorphins, into all its products because it “creates a frame of mind favourable to pleasure and well-being”.

The jury is out on whether the claim would stand up to the highest standards of scientific scrutiny. But Happy Cosmetics clearly understands something important: that in a world of almost unalloyed gloom, brands are one of the places consumers can turn to these days for a little optimism and comfort.

When I say ‘gloom’, I don’t just mean that consumers aren’t feeling especially optimistic at the moment. There is mounting evidence that large swathes of the population are almost clinically depressed.

According to a recent survey by the UK’s Prince’s Trust one in ten young people say they cannot cope with day-to-day life. Almost eight out of ten consumers believe the world has become more frightening in the past decade. And in a survey by the Mental Health Foundation two thirds of those questioned described themselves as “anxious”.

No wonder that the UK’s Office for National Statistics recorded an 8% rise in suicides last year, while the number of NHS prescriptions for antidepressants rose by 10%.

Perhaps this helps explain why happiness has become such a serious issue lately. The UK government has started measuring national well-being as part of the national accounts. And my company sent a researcher to the mountain state of Bhutan last year. It’s reputed to be the happiest country in the world and we wanted to find out why.

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