In the latest series of Mirror, Mirror – streaming on Wednesday on Network 10 – Todd Sampson tackles the wellness industry head-on.
Speaking to B&T, Sampson said the purpose of docuseries Mirror, Mirror “is to hold a mirror to ourselves, and often to big industry”.
After tackling the cosmetic surgery industry, and the internet, Sampson searched his mind for the other industries that impact our minds daily.
“You really can’t go past wellness and I am a bit of a wellness addict myself,” he said.
In the two-part documentary series, Sampson explores a variety of different wellness methods including the use of crystals, leaches, and colonics – “it didn’t feel good” he says of the latter.
The problem with the wellness industry is that “many are peddling misinformation as a way of making money, or is a way of getting followers,” he says.
He described this as “the lingering effect of misinformation from COVID.”
Far from being stupid, Sampson says many turn to the wellness industry out of desperation.
“Many of them [the subjects in the documentary] are driven by the irrationality of fear. And I think that gets us, including me, to do things you probably wouldn’t do in different circumstances. And fear has never been easier to spread, which was the last series.”
For example, one of the saddest stories in the series is about a man who is treating his cancer with alternative therapies, Sampson says.
“My empathy with him is that trauma is hard, and it is difficult and damaging and he was just desperately looking for another way,” Sampson says.
When asked why so many are flocking to alternative therapies rather than appealing to mainstream medicine, Sampson says it is all down to trust.
“Unfortunately, I think there is a sort of lack of trust in Western medicine that has its roots in misinformation, and as even deeper roots in the recent crisis we had with COVID,” he said.
If you look at the numbers then Kim Kardashian has more followers than the World Health Organisation, he points out.
When asked whether the advertising industry can help, Sampson says it is difficult given the industry’s role.
“It’s a difficult one because the advertising industry is a tool used by clients and the industry to sell things. Although one can have a moral compass within that industry, you will primarily the grease of the capitalist machine.”
Todd Sampson was famously in the industry himself, making it to CEO of Leo Burnett Australia and regularly featuring in Gruen.
Despite his success, he says he left the industry after accomplishing all he had wanted to.
“I’d achieved everything I wanted to achieve. I wanted to move on with my life and, and to focus on other things.”
Whilst he initially tried to balance a career in documentary filmmaking with being a CEO, he says this was not sustainable.
“I’d be a warzone and then I’d be selling toilet paper.”
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