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.
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."