McCann London

"Beyond Generations"

Client: Microsoft/Xbox
Product: Xbox
Title: Beyond Generations
Media: Integrated
Country: UK
Date Of Campaign: 18 December 2020

Background: Loneliness among the elderly is on the rise, with a million older people going over a month without speaking to anyone, according to Age UK. And during Covid-19, that sense of isolation has worsened. Yet gaming amongst the younger generation is on the rise, with people using Xbox as a tool to connect, socialise and maintain friendships. We wanted to shine a light on the relationship-building potential of modern online gaming and help bridge the generational divide by enabling the young and old to reconnect.

Idea: Xbox launched ‘Beyond Generations’, an initiative to connect young and old through the power of gaming. Realising that the majority of the elderly population don’t own consoles, we saw an opportunity to help empower young gamers to gift their old consoles to the elderly people in their lives. ‘ReBoxing’ Kits were made available to download online. It had everything that was needed to get an old console ready, and also made it super-simple for an elderly person to set up. A ‘what’s in the box’ page acted as both a check list for the sender, and a handy contents list for the recipient. Paper tags could be cut out and affixed to each component, informing and instructing the elderly person to its use. And it was all topped off with a greetings card to write a personalised heartfelt message for their grandparents.Xbox wanted to help bridge the generational divide, but it didn’t feel right to target the elderly. Instead, we wanted to encourage and facilitate the younger generation to make the first move. We knew that the vast majority of elderly wouldn’t own a console or even consider buying one. But we knew young gamers would soon be upgrading to the next generation console (the Xbox Series S), which meant there would be a window of opportunity where their old consoles would be lying around collecting dust. Xbox wanted to make gifting an old console a no-brainer, by making the process as simple as possible and also showing the benefits gaming could bring to their grandparents.The ‘Beyond Generations’ platform was launched in the UK on 18 Dec 2020. Two documentary films were commissioned; each followed the real-life stories of two different families who had lost touch, whether it was through distance or just growing apart. Shot over the course of 4 weeks, ReBoxed Xbox consoles were gifted to the elderly relatives by their grandkids, and new relationships were formed over games. The films lived on Xbox’s YouTube page, as well as being promoted on social channels.A dedicated landing page was launched for the ‘Beyond Generations;’ initiative, where the ‘ReBoxing’ kit could be downloaded and printed at home. A handy ‘how to’ video also gave useful hints and tips how to ReBox an old console. Xbox also created the first ‘ReBoxing’ video, subverting the popular trend of unboxing videos.Xbox also partnered with leading retirement home network, to supply consoles in a number of their homes across the UK.

Results: While the primary aim was to foster (re)connection between families, the campaign also had the effect of bringing a previously untapped audience (the elderly) into the Xbox ecosystem. The two films received the highest percentage of positive sentiment from any piece of content Xbox had put out before – despite the gaming community being one of the most critical and hardest to please. Some of the comments received said ‘Xbox Cured Loneliness’ and ‘Achievement Unlocked: Family Bonding’. It seemed the films really touched people, as everyone could relate to the issue of loneliness and make them think hard about their own relationship with grandparents.Xbox’s end goal was to deliver on their brand mantra ‘when everybody plays, we all win’ proving that gaming should be inclusive for all. The most important result from the campaign could never be a number or a figure, but the families that reconnected through this experience.

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