In Hard Times, a Barrage of Ads Promises Peace of Mind

Meditation apps, tinctures, stress-busting gummies — spending on commercials for all of them is rising amid the pandemic’s climbing death toll and economic strain.

A lethal pandemic and widespread unemployment have coincided with a tense presidential campaign and nationwide unrest.

For the advertising industry, that means opportunity.

“If history has taught us anything, it’s that we can get through anything — and that beer sometimes helps,” the actor Paul Giamatti says in a Coors Light commercial.

The narrator of a commercial for Firstleaf, a subscription wine club, echoes the sentiment: “We’re going to need a lot of wine to get through this year.”

Those commercials are part of an onslaught of ads promising relief in a stressful time.

Online advertisements for Moon Pals, a line of plush-toy animals with big, doleful eyes, promise “deeper sleep,” “better cognitive functioning” and “reduced anxiety.” The company’s marketing materials inform potential customers that the arms of the stuffed Moon Pals creatures are specially weighted, so that they are able to give “hugs that can save the world.”

Online ads for Moon Pals, a line of plush-toy animals, promise “deeper sleep” and “reduced anxiety.”

Vitality Extracts, a company that sells elixirs and trinkets, promises to “lift your mood and relieve tension.” Its Stress & Anxiety Bundle includes a tiny bottle labeled Stress Away, which contains a “pure essential oil blend,” and a pair of “calming and anxiety bracelets.” At $50, the bundle is sold out.

Procter & Gamble says it can “turn the stressed life into your best life” in recent ads for StressBalls gumdrops, whose ingredients include ashwagandha extract and valerian root extract. Nature’s Bounty, a wellness company, promises a way for its customers to “find peace” in new ads for Stress Comfort gummies, which include ingredients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, melatonin and lavender extract.

Roman, a New York company that offers treatments for conditions such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss, is advertising stress relief capsules that it says are “backed by science.” An unnamed user of Roman products featured in its marketing materials claims: “This company has changed my life.”

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