Bangladesh Brand Forum recently hosted the Digital Marketing Award 2019 at Le Meridien Dhaka. It is the biggest night for digital agencies in Bangladesh. All the top advertising and marketing professionals gather to celebrate the best work in the industry. During the award ceremony, members of an advertising agency, WebAble Digital, wore JOKER masks to receive their award. This took people by surprise. WebAble’s co-founder, Ovick Alam, published a statement later that night explaining the cause behind this intervention:
“Many are wondering why WebAble wore a JOKER Mask to DMA’s stage tonight. Here’s why:
Every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide somewhere in the world. Depression is the primary contributor to this rising suicide rate worldwide. While we personally know many people around us, who are depressed today, mental health is still an elephant in the room. We turn a blind eye to issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. thinking something is wrong with people who are suffering from these. However, when we do pay attention, it is usually when someone in our social circle has committed suicide. We are more often too late. Despite recent attempts by a few organizations, this issue is still considered a taboo.
The recent movie by Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER, depicted the dark side of disturbed mental health due to childhood abuse and trauma; and the mayhem it can create in a society that ignored the issue. We need to treat mental health just like we treat our physical health. At least we need to start talking about it. We need to work on making professional help widely available. The award stage is where an agency receives the most attention, that’s why we decided to use this opportunity to take a stance tonight. We wore the JOKER Mask to raise awareness about mental health-related issues. We hope this starts a conversation among us.
Some of the best advertising and communications professionals in Bangladesh were in the room that night. We believe advertising can be a powerful instrument in society, especially if we use it for strong causes. We hope this intervention will encourage our industry to do at least one campaign on mental health issues in 2020. Our team at WebAble is pledging to do the same.
On a personal level if you see anyone suffering from any mental health-related problems, please encourage them to seek professional help without any hesitation. It is a diagnosable and often curable disease.
Disclaimer: We believe JOKER is a villain and so is taboo around mental health. It’s a disease that needs to be cured, not romanticized. Society is what we make it. Let us create a society that’s far from Gotham. JOKER is what you DON’T want to become.”