Having strong social connections are essential elements to an individual's physical and mental well-being. Recent studies indicate there are numerous negative health consequences linked to social isolation including impaired mental performance, an increased susceptibility to the flu, heightened risk of heart disease, early onset dementia, as well as depression. In fact, the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! While isolation and loneliness can hit individuals at any age, the effects on older adults are very harmful.
When vulnerable older adults experience setbacks or life transitions, they become at risk of being disconnected from the outside world and isolated. One in five adults 50+ in the United States are affected by social isolation, equating to a staggering 8 million individuals, and yet social isolation is not widely understood as a serious health risk.
AARP Foundation has made a commitment to putting an end to this issue. One of our efforts to do so comprised of partnering with HelloWorld in the summer of 2018 to launch a digital campaign with three primary goals in mind:
1.Identify if individuals or their loved one suffer or are at risk of social isolation.
2.Invite our audience to discover what resources are available to overcome and combat the issue.
3.Learn through story telling the impact of social isolation and how people have overcome it.Source: AARP Foundation. (2019) connect2affect.org.
Together, AARP and HelloWorld created the "In Good Company" digital campaign targeted towards the 45+ audience to shine light on social isolation as a public health issue. From 8/1-9/30/18, our audience was encouraged to interact with a number of social mission-based activities in order to move the needle on people understanding how serious an issue social isolation is.
At the forefront of the campaign experience was an assessment that entrants were encouraged to complete in order to measure if they or someone they knew was facing social isolation. After answering the eight-question assessment, users were served a result of either low, moderate, or high risk of social isolation, along with tips and resources on how to improve upon their rating.
Entrants then interacted with a ten-question multiple choice gamified trivia experience to learn the risks involved to individuals suffering from social isolation. One sample question was "what percentage of seniors say they have inadequate transportation in their community?" Like many users, you may be surprised to find out the correct answer is a striking 60%.
Lastly, we urged entrants to submit their own stories and comments in the AARP Online Community. This message board is a great way for our audience to connect with others on common interests and a remedy for social isolation. We provided links to topics of interest for users to join in on the conversation.
AARP loves to delight our audience. One of the ways we do this within our campaigns is by giving participants the chance to win exciting prizes. For completing eligible activities "In Good Company," entrants received a sweepstakes entry for the chance to win a pair of Amazon Echo Spots to connect with friends and family from afar. Given that technology is a powerful tool to help individuals near and far stay connected, we wanted to ensure the campaign prizing would combat social isolation directly.
Within the campaign, we also promoted National Good Neighbor Day on September 28th, even featuring a countdown clock to make entrants aware of how close the date was approaching. Good Neighbor Day is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of community connections. By highlighting this event, we put a positive spin on a serious issue and encouraged individuals to lean on their communities as a way to combat social isolation.
While the topic of this campaign was the serious issue of social isolation, we took great care in executing our creative treatment. We purposefully selected bright colors and images of togetherness to express an overall positive community tone, rather than portraying a sombre feeling.
Overall, the AARP In Good Company campaign is viewed as successful at moving the needle on people understanding how serious an issue social isolation is.
Over the course of the two-month campaign, we had a total of 50,939 entrants, who returned back to the site an average of two times each. Once participants reached the site, they earned over 350,000 sweepstakes entries, an average of nearly seven per entrant! This metric is a telling sign that the content we provided them with was compelling.
In addition, the campaign was successful at helping entrants identify if they or a loved one suffers or are at risk of social isolation. Over 16,900 entrants completed the self-assessment for themselves and over 1,700 completed it on the behalf of a loved one. Taking the assessment was a crucial element of the campaign and we were thrilled at the results.
Lastly, throughout the campaign an average of 8,600 entrants completed each of the ten trivia questions, which were an important tactic to educate our audience on just how serious of an issue social isolation is, especially to older adults.
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