Amid the global covid pandemic and the new onset of monkeypox, one epidemic has made regular headlines for the past couple of years.
Loneliness is not a health matter to be ignored. The link between mental health, socialising, and community is complex. Isolated people report higher rates of depression and anxiety. This leads to stress, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. 7.4 million adults in the UK reported their well-being had been affected by feeling lonely in the first month of lockdown.
Following two years of lockdowns and social distancing, people are experiencing loneliness more strongly than ever. This is particularly true in big cities, such as London, where we’re surrounded by people but we don’t feel connected to them. Places where, even prior to the pandemic, it was harder to find a social hub.
…this is actually a huge opportunity for brands to keep spaces of community and connection thriving, promote social good, and live their brand promise.
Pubs & community hubs
With cities opening up, people can start meeting each other again at work, the gym, gigs, parties, and pubs. Okay, maybe not at work with many now working from home, alone, and remote. But pubs are still very much a hub for connection. A place to see a familiar face or strike up a conversation with a stranger. The community that pubs and bars provide is a meaningful thing.
Several studies have looked at the role pubs play in tackling loneliness. This one shows that one-fifth of Britons would contemplate going to the pub to try and make new friends. But there’s a problem—
Pubs and bars are likely to see a 300% increase in their energy bills in the coming months, meaning some of these hubs of connection could disappear. And not for a covid hiatus. With this happening in winter, it’ll be a double whammy, as many already experience poorer mental health during this time.
Opportunities for brands to step up
Not to worry though, this is actually a huge opportunity for brands to keep spaces of community and connection thriving, promote social good and live their brand promise.
Can your brand create new social moments to create connections and keep loneliness at bay?
Mattel’s UNO created their ‘Let’s Play Along’ playground object. It suggests a game for children within the surrounding circle to play together. This removed the need to either ask to play along or play alone.
Xbox’s ‘Beyond Generations’ showed how gaming could help long-distance social interaction. It also helped older people, who were expected to experience loneliness during the Christmas 2020 lockdown, to build connections.
Or can your brand help support pubs, bars, cafés, corner shops, barbers, any type of social hubs where people meet and have a sense of community?
It can be at varying scales. Heineken helped bars stay afloat by creating a new advertising income stream through Shutter Ads.
Then there’s Budweiser’s Energy Collective which helps provide renewable electricity to bars, music venues, and stadiums around the world.