I saw this advert for Rescue Night® spray on the London Underground this morning. Just to explain – the product is a homeopathic blend of herbal essences produced by a firm called Nelsons. ‘Be ready for tomorrow’ is the slogan. Instead of tossing and turning over work worries, we’re recommended to take a few drops of Rescue Night® instead. I took a photo because it troubled me, and I’ve since given it more thought. There are five reasons why:
1) The familiar, knowing tone. ‘Hey, frazzled commuter – we understand; we sympathize’. The campaign speaks to an assumed, communal stress; an assumed set of worries. There’s an intimacy here, conveyed by the cute bedside lamp and the Facebook icon (no need for a website; ‘like’ us instead!). We’re in our homes with the lights on, desperately tired. These guys are here to help. But do they really have our wellbeing in mind, or do they simply want to monetise it? This is sophisticated marketing – not what you’d expect from a herbal remedies company.
2) The assumption that minor worries should be medicated – and that modern, capable people stay fresh (‘ready for tomorrow’) by reaching for the night spray. Do they? Surely the best ways to deal with work worries are free: discussing them with a partner, parent or friend; eating well and exercising; meditating before bed. And sometimes, too, we should allow our emotions to be - even if they do come at inconvenient times. There’s an assumption that they have to be ‘dealt with’. If one still has trouble – and anxiety is by no means to be trivialised – a doctor should advise, not a homeopathic drug company. The funny thing about this advert, too, is that the packaging looks like ‘proper’ medicine – like Night Nurse – not like herbal drops.
3) The monopoly on mental peace. ‘RESCUE® – the essence of calm & tranquillity’. Should they really be laying claim to this (morally speaking – not legally)? Their Facebook posts upset me because most of their advice is common sense, interspersed with blatant, jarring product placement:
Having a bad day? Stop, take a moment, find your RESCUE, take stock, and then carry on with a new clarity.
Is it your first day back to work today? Start the working year as you mean to go on and have RESCUE to hand to help you through those tricky moments.
Are you enjoying the brief respite between Christmas and New Year? Who needed a drop of RESCUE to get them through the festivities?
I didn’t. I just took a few (free) deep breaths and got. on. with. my. life, thanks.
‘Amid the urban sprawl, I maintain my lotus position… and you can, too! (Please note you’ll receive our newsletter)’
This e-card particularly irks me because it suggests that the peaceful feeling resulting from meditation depends on buying RESCUE products – which is blatantly not true. A quick scan of the other designs shows that RESCUE claims to be the answer to everything; from nerves on your wedding day to the stress of a to-do list. (When, in fact, it is inserting itself into photographs in which it is entirely non-essential.) Although this might be a helpful product for some, it also risks being a crutch – in a way that, I would argue, a mindful breath does not.
An iron. I wonder who this one’s intended for?!
It’s funny – I remember being given Rescue Remedy drops as a child, especially after a fall or before a school play. The brandy probably did ease my nerves, and I’ll accept that it can be of help. But the slickness of this marketing campaign – and the clear move to develop additional products in the range (pastilles, night spray, ear plugs, night balm etc.) leaves me cold. Ultimately, I believe that mindfulness techniques offer all the benefits of RESCUE – at none of the price.
Ironically, writing this late last night compromised my sleep pretty badly. Perhaps I’d better take a vial of RESCUE Night Spray to bed this evening, just in case!