Religion? Inner Peace? Quakerism? There’s Apps or pills for all of it

Just kidding about the Quakerism App.

Or am I?

I’m holding on for some “Way Will Open” gummy bears, and an autumn seasoned with SPICE Testimony Lattes, in five (or is it six?)  flavors. I’m sure they’ll all be here soon.

But when will they have a potion for Zoom Burnout & a Remote Committee Meeting Hangover Remedy?

Probably won’t  be long.

And one more nagging question, for the elders among us: what does it mean when pandemic religion (excuse me, spirituality) starts mimicking Doonesbury strips from 40+ years ago?

What follows is not satire. Or not meant to be.

NYTimes: “Meditation apps, tinctures, stress-busting gummies — spending on commercials for all of them is rising amid the pandemic’s climbing death toll and economic strain. . . .

Online advertisements for Moon Pals, a line of plush-toy animals with big, doleful eyes, promise “deeper sleep,” “better cognitive functioning” and “reduced anxiety.” The company’s marketing materials inform potential customers that the arms of the stuffed Moon Pals creatures are specially weighted, so that they are able to give “hugs that can save the world.”. . .

Vitality Extracts, a company that sells elixirs and trinkets, promises to “lift your mood and relieve tension.” Its Stress & Anxiety Bundle includes a tiny bottle labeled Stress Away, which contains a “pure essential oil blend,” and a pair of “calming and anxiety bracelets.” At $50, the bundle is sold out.

Procter & Gamble says it can “turn the stressed life into your best life” in recent ads for StressBalls gumdrops, whose ingredients include ashwagandha extract and valerian root extract.

Nature’s Bounty, a wellness company, promises a way for its customers to “find peace” in new ads for Stress Comfort gummies, which include ingredients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, melatonin and lavender extract. . . .

During a time when more than 180,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19 and millions have been put out of work, nearly a third of American adults have reported signs of anxiety or depression, a significant increase from a year earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that of the millions of workers who have faced pay cuts or layoffs, more than half blame the pandemic for damaging their mental health.

Public service messages geared to a newly vulnerable population started appearing in the spring, with commercials from the Advertising Council, a nonprofit group. In one campaign, entertainers including Meghan Trainor and Addison Rae encouraged teenagers to connect with friends; in another, creators on TikTok like Jaci Butler and Parker James shared tips on how to handle isolation.

Those messages were followed by a flood of ads for sleep aids, mental-health apps, remote therapy services, prescription drugs, potions and tinctures. . . .

Calm, a meditation and sleep app, spent an estimated $15.6 million on TV commercials from March through August, up from $3 million a year earlier, according to the research firm iSpot.TV. The company’s spending on Facebook nearly tripled over the same period, according to estimates from the advertising analytics platform Pathmatics.

In a Calm ad that has appeared on Instagram, the actress Eva Green reads a bedtime story, “The Magic Hotel,” by the “sleep story” author Christina Yang, in her breathy alto over the gentle strains of a piano.

Headspace, another meditation app, spent $27.3 million on a recent television campaign that reached viewers an estimated 1.9 billion times, according to iSpot.TV. “This crisis is affecting all of us,” the narrator says on one commercial. “Our mental health is suffering, but most of us just don’t know how to deal with it. But we can try, with tools to help look after our mind.”

The digital ad agency Playbook Media is testing messages for Mellow, an app in development, which shows users images of paintings as a calming device. “There’s a market opportunity to capitalize on the current moment,” said Bryan Karas, Playbook’s chief executive. . . .”

3 thoughts on “Religion? Inner Peace? Quakerism? There’s Apps or pills for all of it”

  1. Ok,. Chuck…I swear for Calm! They also have calming playlists in any style of music you want. The pills and toys I can do without.

  2. For getting to sleep I recommend YouTube lectures by Bart Ehrman. No slam against Prof. E, but the droning of a human voice puts me under. But if it doesn’t, you might still learn something.

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