Older loneliness is a crisis in the UK, with 1.2m older people lonely and 200,000+ going one month without speaking to anyone. Charity Age UK believe that No One Should Have No One and its Christmas campaign aims to tackle this loneliness by creating awareness, recruiting volunteers and increasing donations.
It was going to be a challenge. Against a backdrop of Christmas advertising noise and only 4% share of voice, we needed a smarter approach than traditional advertising.
It is proven that empathy drives action for charities. The closer people relate to an issue directly correlates to how likely they are to act. The problem for Age UK was that our data* showed older people’s loneliness to be far removed from most people’s lives, especially at Christmas when almost everything we do focuses on spending time with friends and family.
Our insight came from the glaring contrast of most people’s festive experience versus the solitary existence that is the reality of lonely for older people. If we were going to build empathy with the issue, we needed to find a way of getting people closer to loneliness, at a time of year when it wasn’t on their radar.
But getting people closer to the issue wouldn’t be enough. Empathy also comes from understanding and trust. Something in short supply against with consumer cynicism in most traditional entities** increasing. We identified a medium which bucked that trend and was not only still trusted but also a catalyst for action and a format people wanted to spend time with. Documentary films***.
Spotify, Facebook, Google Trends, Social Listening, Telegraph, Twitter, UK Travel Data, Yahoo, Shopper Data
People’s trust declining in business, media, government and NGOs. Harvard Business Review
Among dwindling trust in the press, documentaries are more authentic and trusted. Gallup U.S.
To drive action for Age UK, our strategy was simple. Create empathy by moving the issue of loneliness closer to home and use the trusted voice of documentary to explain its complexity.
- Put the issue of loneliness closer to home
To get people closer to the issue of older loneliness we infiltrated the UK’s biggest festive moments of togetherness. Using multiple data sources, we identified the top 6 as: Shared TV viewing, Christmas Tree decorating, Christmas Shopping, Christmas Parties, sending Christmas cards and travelling home to loved ones.
We created a content series themed ‘Just Another Day’, showing the isolation of a lonely older man, contrasted against a backdrop of people living a Christmas full of togetherness. The series consisted of a 3-minute hero film on loneliness, 60” and 30” cut downs, and six vignettes contextually themed to specific moments.
Knowing that juxtaposition makes advertising stand out even more, we used data and social listening to plan content distribution around the peaks for each moment.
- Use a trusted voice to explain the complexity of loneliness
Working in partnership with Channel 4 and CPL Productions we brought back hit documentary (and trusted voice), Old People’s home for Four Year Olds (OPHFFYO) for a Christmas special. The original show was a ground-breaking experiment that used intergenerational contact to improve older people’s lives, but this time we worked with script writers to put loneliness at the heart of the story, and seamlessly integrate Age UK services into the content.
The documentary was designed for the shared TV viewing moment and broadcast as a 60-minute Advertiser Funded Programme (AFP) at primetime on one of the UK’s biggest free-to-air channels, Channel 4. We also created additional original content for VOD & social platforms.
We set about putting the issue closer to home. The first weekend of December focused on the Christmas Tree Decorating peak, placing our content at the heart of the social conversation. For Christmas Shopping & Christmas Party moments we used digital OOH, switching our content message by time of day. On the last posting days we geo-fenced post boxes to deliver mobile content for those Sending Christmas Cards. Finally, we targeted those Travelling Home to Loved Ones at train stations, updating content in real time based on train destinations and how many older lonely people they would pass on their route.
Our documentary, OPHFFYO at Christmas, aired in the 9pm primetime spot on Channel 4, putting the issue of loneliness into the consciousness of 2.65 million viewers (215k on catch up). Just Another Day idents ran throughout, bringing the reality of loneliness into viewers homes. All idents were followed by bespoke 20” first in break spots with the shows talent delivering messages directly linked to the shows editorial and explicitly supporting Age UK.
Our social was synched around the show, seeding exclusive content to engage influencers and people who had watched, reaching just over 3.7 million people across all platforms. All Facebook formats included the new ‘Donate button’ (the first UK charity on the Beta trial) and everyone who engaged with the campaign were retargeted with content showing Age UK’s great work.
To ensure action, all touchpoints incorporated a call-to-action to either donate, volunteer or raise awareness by sharing.