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Making friends can sometimes be challenging, but it doesn’t necessarily have to get more difficult as we grow older. An advert from the Campaign to End Loneliness encourages people to reach out to one another in simple ways, showing that combating loneliness can be much easier than it seems. We discover the insights behind the ad and explore how it compels us to celebrate small moments of togetherness.

The three-minute film, produced by BMB, sees young children approaching adults who are seated alone in a café. Hidden cameras capture the interactions that follow, which are quirky, humorous, and altogether heartwarming, as the children break down social barriers and help people bond. The clip asks viewers if they remember a time when making friends was ‘child’s play’, concluding with a call for people to be more open with each other. The Campaign to End Loneliness released the ad as part of its ‘Be More Us’ movement, which aims to serve the 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK by encouraging new relationships and celebrating even the smallest moments of connection.

The campaign wants us to celebrate small moments of togetherness The campaign wants us to celebrate small moments of togetherness
Matthew Bennett (2017) ©

This is not the first time that creative agency BMB has worked with the Campaign to bring people together – the two previously collaborated on ‘The Loneliness Project’, producing a similarly touching film to create empathy for lonely seniors. “Loneliness and isolation are on the rise, and people fear the UK is divided. But our research shows that the majority of people believe that small moments of connection, that anyone can get involved with, are valuable,”says Laura Alcock-Ferguson, executive director of the Campaign to End Loneliness. “That’s why ‘Be More Us’ will elevate small moments of connection, like saying hello to someone in your local shop or smiling at someone on the bus. Small moments count and they should be celebrated.”

Loneliness has become a global epidemic, and is affecting people in the UK so much that the state has even appointed a Minister for Loneliness. In a country where more than nine million people feel lonely, it affects the young and old alike – many British youths report feeling disconnected and, ironically, the omnipresence of social media only exacerbates the problem, with31% of people saying it intensifies their feelings of isolation. Research from the Campaign to End Loneliness has found that 54% of UK adults say that it has been a long time since they made a new friend – but, optimistically, 82% also believe that little moments of conversation, like those depicted in the ad, can overcome divisions between people. Much like Pedigree’s ‘Dog Date’ ad, which was also geared at reducing senior loneliness, the campaign’s realism encourages empathetic engagement to bring about positive social change.

Helen Jambunathan is a freelance writer currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She holds a Masters in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and has spent five years researching the specialty coffee industry. Outside of work, she is a die-hard tennis fan, wearer of many rings, and reader of many things.

Canvas8

04 Jun 18
2 min read

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