Professional Writing – Autumn 2021
After interviewing Alex Brands, the Head of Brand Marketing at Madhappy, I wrote an article to showcase what I learned.
Imagine a sweatshirt that cares about you.
It tells you in a friendly, flowing font to “inhale” and “exhale.” Or, it tells you in a happy pink to “treat yourself like someone you love.” Behind the scenes of these empathetic sweatshirts is a company that is making a difference: Madhappy.
Madhappy is a mental health brand using clothing as a vessel for change. Their focus isn’t on money or recognition–it’s on awareness and kindness.
Alex Brands: Head of Madhappy Brand Marketing
How does a mental health brand function? Alex Brands, Head of Brand Marketing since 2020, has a lot to do with the company’s exceptional success navigating a difficult space. Brands has his work cut out for him with campaigns such as this one
for World Mental Health Day and networking with companies such as Pixar for partnerships.
His journey to Madhappy began when he graduated from Tulane University in 2013 with degrees in Finance and Marketing. He always knew the creative field was meant for him and was offered an amazing advertising position in New Orleans.
He worked on projects for Samsung and even a Superbowl commercial for Nationwide Insurance. Brands was set up for more than just the average marketing career, yet something was missing.
“I realized I love doing strategy, but I want to do it with a different output.” This epiphany sent Brands on a journey where he explored everything from organizational design to industrial design, investigating different kinds of strategy. Strategy is a broad term encompassing anything that improves the way a company works. After speaking with a close mentor, Brands had his sights set on a job in branding: a kind of strategy with the perfect balance of design, digital media and communications.
After a move to New York, a job at Gin Lane (a branding agency where Brands helped companies like Warby Parker and Harry’s launch) and a party invite through a side project for Jaja Tequila where he met the Madhappy founders, Brands found himself working as Head of Brand Marketing for a company with an extremely important role.
Brands realized the best way to use his talents was alongside Madhappy, a brand that makes a real difference in people’s lives. Brands says, about his job, that “the coolest thing to see is when people who have never engaged in their mental health take a step to engage in their mental health.” The comments and DM’s on Madhappy’s Instagram from people who begin to journal or open up to their friends are what keeps Brands and others at Madhappy fueled.
Madhappy: Present and Future
Very popular among Gen Z, Madhappy finds most of its audience on Instagram. “It’s like our town square, so to speak,” explains Brands. “If you want to know what’s going on with Madhappy, Instagram is the place to go.” Instagram provides Madhappy with a way to build channels that are direct and accessible. While @Madhappy does the best job advertising the brand, @TheLocalOptimist, Madhappy’s second Instagram account, focuses entirely on mental health resources for followers.
In the past year, Madhappy has seen a partnership with the Lakers, the launch of their podcast, and the release of a guided journal. No matter what comes next from Madhappy, we can always depend on it to care about us.