IRC - Brand Response to Stigma


It has become commonplace in today’s vernacular to say things like “She’s crazy” or “He’s just an addict” without the person saying these things batting an eye. There is little awareness surrounding the harmful effects of this stigma, whether intentional or not. These stigmatic undertones greatly affect those currently suffering, often in silence, with mental health and/or substance-use disorders. This silent suffering from stigma ultimately causes individuals to not seek the help they need to recover. The Indiana Recovery Council received a grant to help negate the stigma surrounding mental health and substance-use disorders in Indiana, allowing those affected by this shame to seek help.


In order to understand the current environment for recovery agencies in Indiana, CVR conducted peer interviews. Through these interviews, we learned that true stories from those in recovery were important, as viewers better relate and realize that recovery is possible by seeing others who recovered. We also created three metaphorical videos that emotionally exclaimed the damage stigma causes and encouraged people to visit our site to learn more about reducing stigma. This educational effort was executed through the metaphorical videos, testimonials, informational statistics and a marketing asset toolkit to be leveraged by peer associations throughout the state for a grassroots campaign. By creating the website, assets and paid media efforts, we were able to help strengthen their messaging and spread awareness.


With both the physical and digital efforts of the campaign, the IRC saw an increase in overall stigma awareness in the Indiana markets. The click-through rates (CTRs) for paid search were above industry benchmarks at 0.16% and paid social saw a CTR of 0.61%. The physical pieces, including flyer, PowerPoint, videos and tradeshow display were leveraged at all tradeshows and events the council members attended, providing information and resources to those within the addiction and recovery industries.