Let’s talk about Bell Let’s Talk

The days of tweeting #BellLetsTalk (and giving yourself a little pat on the back for it) have come to an end as the telecom giant revamps its famous mental health campaign. 

What happened: After 13 years, Bell will no longer donate five cents to mental health initiatives for every #BellLetsTalk hashtag posted on social media during its annual Let’s Talk Day. Instead, the company will instead donate a $10 million lump sum, well above the highest amount ever raised in a single day throughout the campaign’s history.

Why it’s happening: In recent years, public sentiment around Bell has soured after mass layoffs, the dismissal of former CTV anchor Lisa LaFlamme, and a human rights complaint from CP24 weatherperson Patricia Jaggernauth undermined the success of Let’s Talk Day. 

  • Bell has also faced criticism over its own work culture and impeding the ability of inmates to access mental health support systems through the phone.

Bottom line: Bell’s decision to make Let’s Talk less viral shows just how scared the company is of having its own hashtag used against it (which is already happening). Even though the campaign has raised ~$129 million over its lifetime, it’s clear that goodwill isn’t easy to come by in the face of unpopular business practices and a perceived toxic culture.