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Xbox Tackles Elderly Loneliness with Beyond Generations Reboxing Initiative

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Activation from McCann London brings to life the platform encouraging younger people to start gaming and connecting with older people

Xbox Tackles Elderly Loneliness with Beyond Generations Reboxing Initiative

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 the virtual worlds of gaming have become places where gamers can build and maintain real-world relationships ‘Beyond Generations’, an initiative by Xbox and McCann London, is aimed at bridging that generational divide in families, by showing elderly people the relationship-building potential of today’s games, and by getting younger people to start gaming and connecting with the older people in their lives.

The ‘Beyond Generations’ platform launches with two filmed experiments, airing on Xbox’s YouTube and Twitter channels, each following the story of a different real family. ‘Mary & Jason’ tells the story of Jason and his great-aunt, who live far apart and have never really known each other. ‘Howard & Dhillon’, meanwhile, focuses on a grandfather and grandson who used to be close, but who’ve drifted apart as they both grew older. The experiments document how going on virtual road trips together in Forza or sailing on virtual ships together in Sea of Thieves, things that are no longer possible for them to do in real life, become an ice-breaker for opening up to each other about their lives and forming a deeper relationship, something sorely missing from ordinary video calls.

Beyond the films, Xbox’s broader mission is to encourage families dealing with loneliness to begin connecting more through gaming. 

Recognising that most elderly people don’t have a console, while younger people often have an old console gathering dust, Xbox is introducing a ‘ReBoxing’ initiative – a subversion of the category trend of unboxing videos. The ReBoxing initiative is a project to empower gamers, who might have recently upgraded to a new console, to gift their old console to an elderly person in their life – the first step in starting to connect with each other.

The ReBoxing Kit, downloadable from the campaign website includes simple tools that people can use if they wish to box up their old console and send it to an older family member. This includes gifting messaging cards, a 'What’s in the Box' checklist, as well as simple product tags that will make it easy for older family members to understand what each item does and how they fit together, as soon as they open the box.

To help ignite this spark of connection within families, Xbox has partnered with multiple charities around the globe dedicated to supporting the needs of older people. In the UK, Xbox will support Age UK, and their work internationally through Age International.

“This initiative is close to our hearts because it shows the power gaming has to make a genuine difference in people’s lives. 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. We’re honoured to partner with Xbox to help nudge families a little bit closer together.” says Sanjiv Mistry, ECD at McCann London.

“Isolation and loneliness are topics brought into sharp focus in present times, particularly for the elderly. It’s important that we shine a light on the problem and we’re proud to bring this initiative into realisation, with the hope of making a step towards renewing family connections and democratising gaming for everyone.”, says Michael Flatt, Global Integrated Marketing at Xbox.

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Chief Creative Officer McCann UK and Co-President, McCann London: Laurence Thomson

Chief Creative Officer McCann UK and Co-President, McCann London: 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 (Craft)

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 and Molly Strasser

Production Company Credits

Production Company: Craft 

Director: Chris Fowles

Producer: Zara Balfour

Director of Photography: Terrence Wilkins

Composer: Chris Davey

Editor: Alex Young @ Craft

Assistant Producer: Toby Burden  

Assistant Editor: Ashley Joiner @ Craft

Assistant Camera: Marti Guiver & Luke Makepeace

Sound Design & Mix: Mihai Meirosu @ Craft

Grade: Steffan Perry @ Framestore

Online Editor: Simon Hall @ Craft

Covid Supervisor: David Devine

Illustrator: Son of Alan

Genres: People

Categories: Gaming, Sports and Leisure

McCann London, Fri, 05 Feb 2021 14:20:05 GMT