Meditation app Calm boosted after sponsoring CNN’s election night coverage

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were glued to their televisions last week as results from a particularly contentious election began rolling in. And while the nation waited with bated breath to find out who would become the 46th President of the U.S., a mental wellness app was capitalizing on an opportunity to relay a calming message to viewers.

Calm, the meditation and relaxation app, purchased a sponsorship with CNN, giving it prime placing on the screen throughout the network’s election coverage. The app’s logo appeared in the corner of CNN’s Key Race Alerts, which was basically any segment during which the network had updates on votes in a particular state. The juxtaposition couldn’t have been more jarring: Calm’s logo in the corner of the screen while CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and John King were anything but, well, calm. 

Courtesy of Calm

“We understand the uncertainty of this election cycle can be a source of anxiety for many of us, especially as it coincides with an ongoing pandemic,” Calm said in an email. “Our goal during CNN’s Key Race Alerts was to provide viewers a moment of Calm and a reminder to take a deep breath during a stressful night.”

CNN said Calm also advertised during the network’s coronavirus town halls with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Calm’s election night sponsorship continued into CNN’s election coverage on Nov. 4. 

Neither CNN nor Calm would disclose how much the app paid for the deal. However, recent data shows the sponsorship may have ultimately paid off.

Calm was downloaded about 35,000 times on Nov. 3 and again Nov. 4, up from its daily average of 26,000 downloads the week prior, according to data from mobile app data analytics firm Sensor Tower. At the peak of its popularity on Nov. 4, Calm was ranked as the 65th most popular app on the Apple app store, up 54 spots from the previous day. It ended the day at No. 83, marking its third best day ever. The two times Calm beat the ranking was in July after releasing a sleep story narrated by One Direction star Harry Styles and following an advertising campaign on AppLovin and YouTube in October.

The free version of Calm’s app provides timed meditation sessions, breathing exercises, and a sleep story. Users can also choose from a selection of nature sounds or music during Calm’s meditation sessions. For $69.99, the app offers original content, guided meditations catered to gratitude, stress, or anxiety, and more than 120 sleep stories. 

The company said that over the past few months it has sent out Calming messages and breathing exercises at high-stress moments, including during the presidential debates. It’s also been updating its site to offer more free resources to potential users.

“In what’s been an extremely stressful year, our team is always looking for ways to give consumers a reminder to take a deep breath, and tune into themselves,” Erin Hassey, Calm’s senior director of growth marketing, said in an email. 

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