What Can Cow Cuddling Teach Us About The Wellness Industry?

What Can Cow Cuddling Teach Us About The Wellness Industry?

10th April, 2019 by Pippa Chester

Goat yoga. Forest bathing. Cow cuddling – honestly, Google it. These are just some of the latest trends that promise to improve our health and wellness (whilst simultaneously making a dent in our bank account). Funny that.

It’s little wonder then, that consumers are increasingly cynical about products that promise to deliver ‘wellness’. And who can blame them? One cow cuddling website suggests it’s like a giant fluffy hot water bottle. I’ll stick to the hot water bottle, thanks.

In communications terms, confusion surrounding what wellness means could cause food and drink marketing campaigns centred on the concept to fall on deaf ears unless brands clearly define – and back with science – how their products support consumers’ health. People want to know how their food and drink is made, the nutritional value and how it will help them achieve a better sense of wellbeing.

But in an industry besieged by strong competition, it can be tempting for some manufacturers to walk the tightrope between truth and a questionable claim to help make the product stand out from competitors. This is a dangerous game. There are strict rules that govern what is and isn’t permitted when it comes to making health and nutritional claims about products. Remember when Pret breached the advertising code, claiming its products were good natural food, when many contained artificial additives? Take the word ‘natural’, for example – it can mean different things to different people. Pret should’ve better articulated why the brand is natural in more than one all-encompassing claim. That’s where credibility in communications comes into play.

At the core of any successful food and drink marketing campaign is research to back up your claims. This is familiar territory for Richmond & Towers, following the successful launch of Vega®, North America’s number one plant-based protein brand, into the UK. The account team spent more than a year preparing for the brand’s arrival, working closely with Vega®’s team of registered nutritionists to define the UK messaging and tone of voice, and craft a strapline that would convey a holistic, balanced and inclusive approach to health and wellbeing. The result was ‘Fuel Your Feel Good’ – a comms message that played out through in-store channels, as well as PR and digital.

Another example is Richmond & Towers’ recent work with English Apples & Pears to launch our An Apple A Day campaign. Why? Because we worked with Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London, to provide strong nutritional evidence that we should all enjoy an apple a day. The review identified key health messages that we can confidently communicate to media and consumers.

With the global market for health and wellness set to reach £632bn by 2021, there is an undeniable opportunity to leverage health credentials in integrated campaigns[1]. However, the brands that win shoppers’ trust and avoid scepticism will be those that root their messaging in strong, substantiated claims. Because, when you’re told cuddling a cow can help embrace the zen, it’s difficult to know what to believe…


[1] Euromonitor International, 2018