Blue balloons representing blue Monday

Consumer | 3 min read

Blue Monday: Our favourite campaigns from years gone by

As the festive period draws to a close each year and we head into the short days and long nights of January, it’s common to feel a little deflated that all the frivolity has come to an end.

This is why January is home to ‘Blue Monday’ – the so-called saddest day of the year, due to the perpetual darkness and bad weather, lack of funds from overspending on Christmas and New Year, and a general feeling of unhealthiness from the festive excess.

Blue Monday was first conceived by psychologist and life coach Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005 and used in a media campaign by Sky Travel. Dr. Cliff – as we shall call him – used a complex algorithm (which some called pseudoscience) to calculate the third Monday in January as the time when people feel most bored and hopeless.

Sky Travel first used it as a marketing tool to persuade people to purchase a holiday, but Blue Monday is now a mainstream feature in the PR calendar each year, with every brand and his dog jumping on the bandwagon to promote the happiness their products and services can offer.

So if you’re in need of a bit of cheering up this ‘Blue Monday’, we’ve compiled a quick rundown of our favourite campaigns from years gone by…

Pret: Make Someone Smile

In 2016, Café chain Pret a Manger launched the ‘Make Someone Smile‘ initiative – created to brighten up Blue Monday, enabling 100,000 customers to make someone smile by giving them a free drink.

100,000 random customers received a special sleeve with their drink, which allowed them to give someone else a free brew. The idea was that a simple act of kindness can create authentic feelings of joy – and not just for the person on the receiving end, but also for the person doing the giving. Top marks, Pret!

EasyJet: Orange Monday

Airline EasyJet used its own bright orange branding to brighten up Blue Monday with its ‘Orange Monday’ campaign in 2016. Utilising social media, EasyJet challenged Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users to share their most orange photo using #OrangeMonday, for the chance to win a free pair of return flights to a European destination of their choice.

This resulted in social feeds flooded with vibrant, bright orange images giving followers a boost with a bit of colour and happiness. We say, the future’s definitely orange…!

Tesco: Blueberry Monday

In its own efforts to combat Blue Monday in 2016, Tesco introduced ‘Blueberry Monday’ – giving customers the opportunity to get their hands on free kiwis, apples, clementines and blueberries from stores across the country.

The vitamin boost was designed to make customers feel healthier after Christmas indulgence, and also promote a healthy lifestyle amidst reports of the UK’s obesity crisis. The grocer also launched a pop-up Blueberry Smoothie Station at its London Tooley Street branch, offering free fruity beverages all day spreading positivity and wellbeing to customers.  A ‘smooth’ move in our opinion!

The Samaritans: Brew Monday

On a more serious note, The Samaritans launched its own Blue Monday campaign in 2019 – ‘Brew Monday’ – which has continued each year since. The campaign reminds everyone to reach out for a cuppa and a catch-up with the people they care about, which could make a huge difference to someone who’s feeling down. The initiative has grown each year, with The Samaritans inviting people to host a ‘Brew Monday’ event either virtually or in person, providing downloadable resources online and asking people to donate to raise vital funds for the charity.

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