Letters from the dorm: The Instagram Egg, the Super Bowl, and mental health awareness

By Tacye Hong, University of Cambridge, Britain

The viral Instagram egg has been used in a good way – to put the spotlight on mental health issues ignored by society

By Tacye Hong, University of Cambridge, Britain |

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So far the egg has racked up some 52 million likes.

Remember the egg photo on Instagram that beat Kylie Jenner’s post as the most-liked picture of all time? Jenner’s announcement of the birth of her baby daughter from February 6, 2018 had gained 18 million likes before being dethroned by the stock photo. It currently has 52.7 million likes.

What is so special about this egg that it’s still making the news? The Instagram account has, since surpassing Jenner, posted several images of the egg, each showing larger cracks on the shell than before. With such a build-up of suspense, many speculated about what could be inside, and many tried to take credit for the stunt. After all, this kind of media attention could generate millions of dollars for a brand.

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It was soon revealed that the egg had partnered with Hulu, a popular streaming service in the United States. During this month’s Super Bowl, a 30-second advert featured the egg which had started to crack, with the caption: “The pressure of social media is getting to me.” It then encouraged viewers to talk to someone if they were also struggling. So, all the hype was about a mental health campaign.

I was slightly disappointed at first, even though I did not know what to expect. However, I am now very satisfied with what it turned out to be. Even if this might not be the creators’ idea from the get-go, I am happy that Hulu is using the internet to highlight an important message.

People who suffer from a mental illness face a lot of discrimination in their lives. So, any campaign that aims to help sufferers and puts the spotlight on the condition has to be good for society.

Every year since 2011, Canadian telecoms company Bell Canada has dedicated a “Bell Let’s Talk Day”, hoping to destigmatise mental health and encourage conversation about the topic. On this day, for every call or text using Bell services, as well as a mention and view of the campaign video, Bell Canada donates five Canadian cents (30 Hong Kong cents) towards mental health initiatives in Canada. This has led to more than C$100 billion being donated.

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Whenever I am stressed and my mum is not immediately available, I watch YouTuber Anna Akana, who makes short sketches about self-love, overthinking, and many other relatable topics. These easily accessible videos serve as therapy sessions. In fact, I believe that everyone should watch these videos to learn more about mental health problems and how to be supportive towards mental health patients.

While the Instagram egg might claim to be negatively affected by social media, I am hopeful that these social media campaigns can have a positive impact on mental health issues. After all, when there are apps that help manage our stress and anxiety levels, it seems that technology should also be able to help fix the problems it created.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne