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Welcome to Campaign of the Week, where we explore some of the freshest and most exciting campaigns from the brands that are engaging their Gen Z audience and catching our attention every week. Today we’re looking at athleisure brand Gymshark’s latest campaign, the ‘Deload’ barbershop.
Earlier in the month, UK athleisure brand Gymshark opened a ‘Deload’ barbershop in Shoreditch, London, as a way of providing men with free trims from Curfew Grooming barbers, who are trained to provide mental health support. Today we’re going to be looking at the campaign in more detail and sharing what moves this means for Gen Z.
What’s the campaign about?
‘Deload’ barbershop is part of Gymshark’s larger ‘Deload’ mental health initiative, which sees the brand partnering with charities such as the U.S.’s JED (The Jed Foundation) and the U.K.’s Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) in order to deliver mental health support through various platforms, from standup comedians to qualified medical professionals. According to one of their spokespersons, Gymshark decided to open a barber shop for the campaign because many men struggling with mental health open up to their barbers more than they do to their doctors.
If it isn’t enough that the ‘Deload’ barbershop tackles mental health (literally) head-on, Gymshark uses it to raise awareness too. The shop hosted several panels led by athletes and influencers from charities/companies such as CALM, Lions Barbers, and Curfew Grooming. The topics of these panels included Be The Mate You’d Want, which encouraged men to check up on their friends, and Building Real Strength, which helped men identify toxic masculinity in the media. Gymshark also sold ‘Deload’ initiative merch, donating all the proceeds to CALM.
Why do we love it?
It’s no secret that we love brands that prioritise mental health. We’ve written about how brands like Dove and influencers like Maddie Ziegler have begun to help remedy the Gen Z ‘confidence crisis’ through their emphasis on vulnerability and elimination of unrealistic beauty standards.
The ‘Deload’ barbershop though is even more unique. It not only reveals a company’s effort to dedicate a tremendous amount of resources to mental health, but also shows a particular thoughtfulness in acknowledging the important (and often underestimated) connection between mental health and gender stereotypes. Data from CALM emphasises how society often socialises men to be especially withholding, revealing that 84% of men in the UK have admitted to bottling up their emotions because they either didn’t to worry anyone (43%) or wanted to deal with their feelings alone (49%).
For brands who want to focus on mental health while distinguishing themselves from companies jumping on the same popular bandwagon, Gymshark serves as an excellent example. By focusing its campaign on the intersection of gender and wellbeing, a niche and pressing area of mental health, Gymshark inspires other brands to seek a deeper understanding of a particular area of Gen Z’s wellbeing and to come together to end the ‘confidence crisis.’ Our stats show that 51% of 16-24s take mental health advice from social media*, so it’s especially important for brands to understand the nuances of Gen Z mental health challenges – your large online platforms can significantly influence the wellbeing of young people.
* The Youth Trends report is available exclusively for Voxburner+ subscribers. To read more on issues surrounding youth culture and trends, get access to Voxburner+ .
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(Cover image 📸: Gymshark on LinkedIn)