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Arriva: combating loneliness


Buses play a hugely significant role in combating social isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly. The local bus is a lifeline to many older people that rely on services to get them around and stay connected to family and friends.

But loneliness is still a growing issue for older generation that can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing.

Smoking Gun worked with Arriva on a campaign to help highlight this issue that older people face and get people more connected.

We teamed up with Age UK to create the Talking Bus – a special bus service that that offered passengers a chance to get out and about with their concessionary bus pass, meet other older people, form new friendships and have a great day out in the process.

The campaign was so successful that we launched a second phase to reignite media interest a few months down the line.

Talking Bus 2 took inspiration from the hit TV show ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ . We invited children from local primary schools along to the Talking Bus 2, with the aim of the children and older people connecting. The children spread their love and excitement of bus travel, and the elderly shared stories about what the local area used to be like and the changes they’d seen over the years.

our team

Created a comprehensive broadcast opp alert, press release and media sell in targeting local media organisations detailing the Arrivaand Age Concern partnership event

Reached out to print and online news outlets and broadcasters across Kent and Essex, inviting them to spread the word about this initiative

Used local photographers to capture the event and bring the day trip to life

Engaged local mayors to join the event to encourage more media interest

Briefed Arriva’s regional managing director to be a spokespeople for broadcast media such as live radio


Blanket coverage

across print and online titles in the region, including Times of Tonbridge, Times of Tunbridge Wells, Kent Online and Kent Messenger, and the Southend Echo

Broadcast spot

on local TV service KMTV, BBC Radio Kent, and BBC Radio Essex

Live tweets

targeting both potential service users, friends, family and carers by KMTV reporter on the day, detailing the experience and responses from the public

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