Well, friends, it looks like I’m one step closer to becoming Peggy Olson!! How, you ask? I scored my first byline with Adweek last week!! It’s an op-ed, naturally, about Burger King and their new Real Meals campaign and how brands can better approach the topic of mental health.
This was a piece that just sort of happened spontaneously. I usually spend quite awhile crafting pitches and deciding where to send them — sometimes, it feels like the pre-writing process takes longer than the actual writing of the piece once it’s accepted. But when I heard about Burger King’s ad for Mental Health Awareness Month, there was an icky disconnect that just wasn’t sitting right with me. So, of course, I took fingers to keyboard and penned my thoughts.
That’s the thing about op-eds. They force you to write fast. To outline your thoughts quickly, choose your words carefully for maximum impact and work ahead of the clock because you’re always in a constant race with time. Because time is definitely not on the op-ed writer’s side; the worst feeling is missing that timeliness window and having your piece become irrelevant. Like I’ve said many times, the news cycle is unforgiving.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I couldn’t resist using the pun “food for thought” in the first paragraph…
“As someone who has battled mental health issues in the past, I applaud Burger King’s intention. People are talking, especially on social media, which means that the campaign is making an impact and is clearly a conversation we need to be having.
Was the campaign executed perfectly? No.
In the end, it’s important to remember that mental illness isn’t a gimmick. It’s not a marketing ploy. It’s a complex issue that is relevant for more than one month every year in May. Discussions on mental illness certainly don’t end here, but Burger King is at least starting a conversation; I’d take the beginnings of a conversation over silence any day.”
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! And here’s to us going home for the holidays, wherever that may be! Love you all… xoxo