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Can you shop your blues away? One magazine thinks so

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How do you make yourself feel better after a bad day? Do you seek the sympathetic ear of a friend? Do you vent your frustrations through physical exercise? Or you do sleep it off, with the hopes of tackling your problems afresh tomorrow?

Retailers and advertisers would rather you indulge in some retail therapy. And they don't get more blunt about it than Lucky magazine's new ad campaign, called "Fill the Void."

As the industry publication Ad Age reported in a blog last week, the campaign encourages consumers to tackle their woes by shopping. The ads bear text such as "My boyfriend has a boyfriend," "My intern is the only one following me on Twitter," and "My boyfriend dumped me via text," followed by the slogan, "Fill the void." Ad Age says the campaign is scheduled to launch on the magazine's web site Aug. 17.

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The campaign was likely meant to be funny, giving a little nudge and wink to media-savvy consumers. But as Time magazine reported, some folks aren't laughing.

"This is a very disturbing ad campaign," psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne of the University of Massachusetts Amherst told Time, noting it is a common advertising strategy to prey on consumers' feelings of inadequacy. "But because the items that these depressed shoppers may buy can never really 'fill the void,' advertisers set up these shoppers for a further cycle of depression and despair should they drain those designer wallets by overspending."

Besides possibly mocking individuals with compulsive shopping issues, the whole notion of filling some sort of personal void with shopping can also be a bit of a downer, whether the message is tongue-in-cheek or not.

What do you think of the campaign? How do you cope when you have a bad day?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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