Friends or No Friends?

Interesting tactical idea from JWT and Age UK: in a response to the current Facebook ‘Friends’ posters, an outdoor campaign features similar layouts but this time with (stock) images of older people and the line ‘No Friends’


According to Age UK, one million older people in the UK go more than a month at a time without seeing or speaking to anyone.

“At Age UK we know how devastating loneliness can be for older people,” says Marianne Hewitt, head of brand at Age UK. “Being lonely not only makes life miserable, it is also really bad for our health, making us more vulnerable to illness and disease. It’s time we took loneliness seriously as a threat to a happy and healthy later life. We need to do more to support older people to stay socially connected: this is a big part of our job at Age UK and everyone can help by being a good friend or neighbour to the older people they know.”

As well as raising awareness of the issue, the campaign carries a call to action n which people are invited to text £3 which could help provide older people who feel lonely with companionship, support and advice via Age UK’s services.



There’s always a risk with ads that reference other ads. They can seem a bit too ‘industry in-joke’ and, in this case, if you are not aware of the Facebook campaign, is the message on its own too bleak? At CR issues around ageing are currently top of mind as our June issue will concentrate on this area. Much of the debate at the moment is around shifting preconceptions around older people, focusing on what they can do, not what they can’t, talking about interaction with older people as a rewarding experience not something you do as a chore or out of guilt.

But this is a charity campaign and we know that such work relies on emotional response. The creative head of a well-known children’s charity once told us that, no matter what other tactics they try, it’s always the images of children in distress that get the phones ringing and the donations coming in.

So let’s hope this clever campaign persuades Facebook users and others to make some real, older friends, or at least to support Age UK’s services



Client and Job Title: Age UK. Nisha Sachdev-Patel – Brand Manager
Creative agency: J. Walter Thompson London
Executive Creative Director: Russell Ramsey
Creative Director: Russell Ramsey
Creative: Adam Collins and Mark Campion
Designer: Christian Timmermans