At a Glance:

Campaign: Lonely Not Alone

Client: Co-op Foundation & DDCMS

Goal: To show young people that youth loneliness is taken seriously as a social issue and to help them talk about it. Also, to help young people take action to tackle loneliness in themselves and others.

Result: An engaging and successful national campaign on a shoestring budget, developed by young people for young people.

Project details

In 2019 we travelled to Manchester to collaborate with nine young people who all had experience of being lonely, for very different reasons. Together, we co-produced a national communications campaign to support other young people experiencing loneliness.


Loneliness amongst young people is not an issue that gets much airtime, but in fact, more under-25s say they often feel lonely than any other age group.

We worked with a group of 11-22 year olds to uncover their collective insight about what it’s like to be lonely, and to help them develop a national campaign. Empathetic as always, the young people decided to develop a campaign that would show other young people experiencing loneliness that even if they’re lonely, they’re not alone.

The group directed the entire creative process; choosing animators, writers and designers to collaborate with, helping to design the characters to reflect their own reasons for being lonely, writing the script… even voicing the unicorn in the animated film! They also had the idea that people could wear yellow socks in support of the campaign; a burst of sunshine to show people experiencing loneliness you care.

The campaign featured an animated film and was delivered through social media, PR, partners, events and toolkits.

Lonely Not Alone
The campaign also featured three real stories told through the universal medium of sock puppets!

“ I have realised through this process that I am lovable and wonderful after all, and that has helped me to find deeper and better friendships at school. ”

Young person, 12

The Facts and Figures

Helping lonely young people

With virtually no media spend the campaign showed lonely young people everywhere that even if they’re lonely, they’re not alone. We saw through social media that large numbers of young people and adults wore yellow socks as a practical way of helping themselves and others. And for the young people who took part, the experience was life-changing.

National engagement

More than 100 organisations supported the campaign in social media, with 20 Lonely Not Alone ‘yellow sock’ events held in week one of the campaign to help young people talk more openly about loneliness.

The power of social media

The film was watched 114,000 times on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The campaign hashtag also had a reach of 2.8m in twitter. Importantly, 97% of discussions in social media were positive or neutral, and the Instagram engagement rate of 32% was significantly higher than industry benchmarks.

“ I remember how nervous I was when the young creative group first pitched the campaign. But I was blown away by how authentic their ideas were. It proved to me that young people really are the experts on the issues that affect them, and we should put them in charge more often. ”

Andy Mortimer, Co-op Foundation Communications Manager