Best of 2021: Xbox 'reboxes' consoles to unite generations through gaming

Campaign by McCann is aimed at tackling loneliness among seniors

Published On
Feb 09, 2021

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we will be counting down our picks for 2021's 30 best ads and creative marketing ideas.

At No. 13: How Microsoft and McCann London leveraged the brand's Xbox gaming console to tackle the issue of seniors' loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. 

Various advertisers have attempted to tackle the issue of loneliness among the older generation in recent years; among them, Cadbury in its partnership with Age U.K., John Lewis with ads such as Man on the Moon and Pedigree, which paired older people with pets. But the problem persists, now particularly exacerbated by the pandemic, and now here comes a campaign from a category that you might not have predicted: gaming.

See the full list of 2021's Best Ads.

Microsoft Xbox and agency McCann London have created "Beyond Generations," an initiative aimed at bridging that generational divide in families by showing seniors the relationship-building potential of today’s video games. The idea is to get younger people to start connecting with the older people in their lives through gaming.

Two films, airing on Xbox’s YouTube and Twitter channels, each follow the story of a different real family: for example Howard and Dhillon, a grandfather and grandson who used to be close, but who’ve drifted apart as they both grew older. There is also Jason and his great-aunt Mary, who live far apart and have never really known each other. The films show them playing games such as "Minecraft" and "Forza" together, and bonding over the shared experience.

As part of the campaign, recognizing that most seniors don’t own a console, Xbox is introducing a "ReBoxing" initiative encouraging younger people to package up their old consoles and pass them on to an older family member. Users in the U.K. can download a whole kit from the campaign website, including instructions on how to use the console and set it up. 

“This initiative is close to our hearts because it shows the power gaming has to make a genuine difference in people’s lives," aid Sanjiv Mistry, executive creative director at McCann London, in a statement. "And the more people who take up the call and start ReBoxing their old consoles and giving them to their grandparents, the more those siloes of loneliness start to break down."


Feb 09, 2021
Client :
Agency :
McCann London
Chief Creative Officer :
Laurence Thomson
Chief Creative Officer :
Rob Doubal
Executive Creative Director :
Jamie Mietz
Executive Creative Director :
Sanjiv Mistry
Senior Creative :
James Crosby
Senior Creative :
William Cottam
Head of Design :
Lisa Carrana
Designer :
David Coates
Senior Planner :
Jonathan Bender
Senior Planner :
Mike Phillips
Managing Director :
Jessica Tamsedge
Managing Partner :
Sailesh Jani
Business Director :
Oscar Flintoft
Account Director :
Melanie Vickers
Senior Account Manager :
May Sinlapa
Account Associate :
Eloise Thompson
Project Director :
Clare Prager
Senior Project Manager :
Georgia Wettenhall
Production Agency :
Chief Production Officer :
Sergio Lopez
Head of Integrated Production :
Sophie Chapman-Andrews
Executive Producer :
Alec Christie
Senior Producer :
Zara Balfour
Head of Post Production :
Pedro Pinto
Post Producer :
Jamie Cooper
Producer :
Sarah Hall
Senior Print Producer :
Liam White
Print Producer :
Steve Tester
Production Business Affairs :
Val Boyce
Production Business Affairs :
Molly Strasser
Production Company :
Director :
Chris Fowles
Producer :
Zara Balfour
Director of Photography :
Terrence Wilkins
Composer :
Chris Davey
Editor :
Alex Young
Assistant Producer :
Toby Burden
Assistant Editor :
Ashley Joiner
Assistant Camera :
Marti Guiver
Assistant Camera :
Luke Makepeace
Sound Design & Mix :
Mihai Meirosu
Grade :
Steffan Perry
Grade :
Online Editor :
Simon Hallé
Online Editor :
Executive Producer :
Alexia Merrington
Covid Supervisor :
David Devine
Illustrator :
Son of Alan

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