As part of introducing IQ-ME to the UK market for the first bright and shiny time, we arranged for a special promotion of the IQ-ME colouring book series at the prestigious London Fashion Week. Distributing colouring books at London Fashion week was a new concept and - much as we cherish IQ-ME - a somewhat unpredictable escapade. Would media brush the books impatiently aside, as they thrust themselves into the next show, hustling and bustling for a place on the Frow? Would influencers smile vaguely and swing pointedly around to engage their plus one in a suddenly urgent logistical conversation? Would chastened interns politely tell us that, while it’s a nice idea, they haven’t had time for colouring books since they were about ten years old? Don’t imagine that we - the proud pioneers of the IQ-ME phenomenon - doubt the power of these little books, but introducing them in the thick of LFW was an unprecedented IQ-ME adventure…
But rather than having to thrust them under the noses of impatient and disinterested fashionistas, we found ourselves welcoming a flood of interest that we would only have anticipated for free espresso martinis. Bloggers un-prized their eyes from their i-phones to fix them hungrily on the IQ-ME shapes, with ‘I love this!’ and ‘I need this in my life,’ as the most prolific responses. A brief exchange about the benefits of IQ-ME, particularly it's function of neutralising the impact of social media scrolling on the brain, precipitated the kind of excitement usually reserved for the hottest and highest calibre of celebrity. Squeals of excitement and mini mosh pits of pushing and shoving to access the source of the books showed us that the world is indeed IQ-ME ready. Beyond ready, the world is hungry.
The benefits of IQ-ME go far beyond the natural, given effect of relaxation, which is perhaps the most recognised reason for why colouring books are so delightful. For an industry - and society - saturated with curated content, marketing messaging, and manipulated imagery, bodies and faces, something as organic and innocent as a colouring book holds a potent appeal. ‘I so need to get off my phone more,’ one blogger tells me, her eyes wide and her voice imperilled, as if a prisoner of her own Instagram account. ‘OMG if it’s good for mental health, who doesn’t need it?’ another influencer chimes in, scooping up three books. ‘This is everything,’ his friend adds, ‘it’s literally everything right now.’
You get the vibe. Basically, IQ-ME was a hit.
Beyond their initial and notably instinctive attraction to the books, people were fascinated to learn more, particularly around the topic of mental health. Those two words have a current resonance that one stylist told me is because ‘society is about to hit a wall with social media. It’s just getting too much.’ He went on to explain that his 23 year old niece has ‘ruined her face’ with botox, due to insecurities augmented by excessive time spent on instagram.
While a wide range of creatives, from designers, actors and musicians to aspiring fashion students, revelled in the possibility of enhancing their creative abilities by balancing the hemispheres of their brains (‘you / he / she need(s) that!’ they tell each other jokingly, as they claim books for themselves), journalists, bloggers and influencers genuinely appreciated the concept of an antidote to excessive newsflashes and updates through newspapers, online publications and social media. ‘It’s pretty intense when you think about it,’ one harassed journalist says, while struggling to connect to Wifi, ‘These days nobody really tunes out. It’s almost impossible now with smartphones.’
Relaying their capacity to reduce stress, increase wellbeing, and improve creative thought and problem solving, our team disseminated IQ-ME books like they were Karlie Kloss’s home-baked cupcakes at the Fabulous Fund Fair. For us, this was not (just) a PR or marketing triumph, but palpable evidence of IQ-ME as the remedial zeitgeist we know it to be.
Much as we all love to stay connected through our phones and social media, even fashionistas agree that the selfie, the scrolling and the sensationalism is getting a bit much. The idea of a remedy for neutralising the symptoms of social media overdosing is a welcome one. As one top model told us, ’you actually feel ill inside after being on instagram too long - then I have to stop and do something else before it gets overwhelming.’ Feeling ‘ill inside’ is not often articulated (though perhaps often felt) by frequent ‘users,’ although there is increasing research about the negative impacts of social media upon mental health, and celebrities such as Selena Gomez have been speaking out about their own personal challenges with it. But on an individual level, the ‘compare and despair’ syndrome induced by excessive social media activity is easily recognised, either through personal experience or observing loved ones (especially teenagers) who tend to be more transparent about their responses. But, like mental health itself, this syndrome is still, to some extent, a taboo. And aside from self-discipline, awareness, and limiting scrolling time, corrective measures are notably lacking.
The beautiful thing about IQ-ME is that it really does what it says on the tin. It simply helps, and within a few minutes of colouring, you can feel it. The beautiful thing about London Fashion Week, at least for team IQ-ME, was that people seemed to recognise and appreciate its capacity to help, even before they picked up a pen. It also inspired us to see and hear that the dialogue around mental health, and the impact of social media and smartphones, is opening up - even within a circle that is a primary source and sustenance for much of the populated content.
If, on the IQ-ME tip, you are still leaning towards the cynical side, we completely understand! In this world (and our industry) keeping your immune system strong with skepticism is one of the ways to try and stay ‘sane’. But thanks to our resident designer, creative multi-talent and unbounded inspirationalist, Johny Dar, we’re pleased to offer IQ-ME as an alternative, applicable approach to ‘staying sane in an insane world.’ It’s a method which empowers you to befriend your brain in new ways, balance your mind (therefore your world), and give your inner child, your budding artist, and your super-self, a fresh chance to shine.
So don’t just take our word for it! Try IQ-ME yourself - or stay tuned for IQ-ME reviews and individual IQ-ME experiences, coming soon…