Branding and entertainment industry experts explain why they don’t think Meghan Markle was the unwitting victim of a paparazzo, who was following her around Montecito last week and happened to catch her raising her arm in a way that revealed she was wearing a certain wellness product on her wrist.
Brand and culture expert Nick Ede told the Daily Mail it was “no accident” that Markle managed to show that she was wearing a stress-reducing NuCalm Biosignal Processing Disc on her wrist when she was photographed last Thursday. Indeed, the company quickly turned the paparazzo shot of Meghan wearing their adhesive patch into a marketing opportunity, the Daily Mail reported.
— Page Six (@PageSix) August 12, 2023
In a post on their official Instagram page, NuCalm shared the paparazzo photo, with the caption saying, “Yes, that’s the nucalm biosignaling disc,” the Daily Mail reported. The UK outlet shared screenshots of the post, which appeared to be on Instagram Story. It also said, “‘The Duchess wore a disc, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system.”
NuCalm are now using the pap shot to sell the disc which helps ‘activate the parasympathetic nervous system’. Most likely a fad and does nothing. pic.twitter.com/Kw3A8nAO3R
— Kat ⚖🐾🏃♀️🚴♀️🏊♀️🍰🫂 (@katchatlaw) August 13, 2023
The company offered customers a free trial, promoted an app that costs up to $49 a month, and said its products are “clinically proven to reduce stress and improve sleep.” In a hint Meghan might use the promoted app, the company said the wrist patch is a “tool to get the most clinical benefit from your NuCalm subscription,” the Daily Mail also said.
News of Meghan wearing the adhesive patch went viral over the weekend, sparking questions about whether she needed it because she was stressed about her marriage to Prince Harry, or because of several months of bad publicity and ongoing challenges she faces in launching her career as a media mogul and global philanthropist. The presence of the NuCalm patch on Meghan’s wrist also is a reminder of speculation that she’s probably looking to relaunch her lifestyle and wellness blog, The Tig.
On Monday, NuCalm issued a statement to Page Six, emphatically denying that it had any “business relationship” with the Duchess of Sussex.
“We have never sponsored or paid for any product endorsements despite working with over 56 professional sports teams and hundreds of celebrities,” the company told Page Six. The company said that Meghan was simply a “loyal user of (their) technology.”
Ede told the Daily it was no coincidence that Meghan’s “strategic placement of the stress pack from a relatively new start-up company” was soon followed by an image of her on the company’s social media account. He said “it is a clear message that she is looking to build her lifestyle brand and create a platform for her followers to benefit from her experiences and the products that help her.”
Ede added that Meghan’s photo, followed by the NuCalm social media post, is another sign that she is looking to bring back The Tig, the blog she started as a TV actor when she starring on the cable legal drama, “Suits.” Meghan shut down The Tig after her relationship with Harry became serious. Ede said it appears that The Tig’s return would be bankrolled by new business partnerships.
This view was echoed by the gossip blogger, Enty, a self-described entertainment lawyer who is known for the blind items he posts on his Crazy Days and Nights website. The lawyer posted one of the those blind items early Monday. It discussed the merchandizing and marketing plans of the “alliterative one,” a reference to Meghan on his website.
“Please don’t think the alliterate one and her product placement was by accident,” Enty’s blind item said. “The photographer knew exactly what to shoot and when and where on the body. When she reactivates her website, they won’t be selling for $4 though. Think more like $40.”
Whether or not the photo was staged, many remarked on how overly dressed Meghan was for a stroll around her home town on a summer day in Southern California, even a summer day along the coast. She sported a $1,625 designer camel coat and $1,225 cashmere Hermès Rayures D’Ete shawl.
While Ede referred to NuCalm as a “startup,” the company noted to Page Six that it’s been around since 2009. In any case, Ede told Page Six that the debunked partnership would be a “good way to go” for both Meghan and for NuCalm. He said her “brand is very strong,” and she was letting her followers know that “she’s stressed but she’s using a patch to help her.”
The makers of the patch claim it works like a “tuning fork,” which uses “vibration frequency and resonance to deliver a calming signal to the brain,” the Daily Mail said. The FDA-approved patches provide “the neurochemistry to accelerate the onset of the relaxation response” and to help customers sleep better, have more focus and energy and alleviate stress and anxiety, the company’s website said. NuCalm said its patches are used by first responders, medical professionals, professional athletes, pilots and professional drivers and people living with cancer, cardiovascular issues, neurological disorders and mental health issues.
Guy Leschziner, professor of Neurology and Sleep Medicine at King’s College London, told the Daily Mail: “It doesn’t look like they’ve actually proven anything. They may well prove us all wrong, but the burden of proof is on them.”
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