Ildiko K. lives at Orosháza, a small town in South-Eastern Hungary. Together with her friends, she made a sensation at Hungary's biggest gaming convention. What’s so special, one might wonder. Ildiko is a 72-years old grandmother. How did she and other elderly get there as top-gamers?! The answer lies at a digitalization initiative from Magyar Telekom which also supports bridging the generations’ gap.
Schools are out for summer. Many grandchildren spend more time with their grandparents. Quite often though there is not much to talk about… The usual picture: the youngsters’ eyes focused on the smartphone screen with the grandparents in awe nearby, simply observing or attempting to open-up a discussion. How could we get them closer, true our motto we won’t stop until everyone is connected?
A Magyar Telekom initiative offered an opportunity for the elderly to reconnect with their grandchildren and have fun, while upgrading their digital skills.
The societal issue
Across Europe the population is ageing rapidly, while older people's digital literacy remains low. In Hungary 19% of the total population is over 65 but only 6% of Hungarian Facebook users come from this age group. Add to this the fact that elderly people often cannot easily find common ground with their grandchildren. Kids play, create and consume content heavily online; a situation that may enlarge the fear of the “big unknown” -aka the internet and use of smartphones, tablets etc.- within the elderly.
Childhood years pass quickly but playfulness doesn't have to. Also becoming digitally savvy is not just a matter of age but rather a matter of mindset too. Considering this, Magyar Telekom colleagues acted in a smart and emotional way using online gaming as it core idea and tool to connect the older and younger generations.
A magic trio and a seniors’ club
Two popular Generation Y vloggers, Zsolti from Hunboxing, Imre Kiss from Gameday and Auntie Jolcsi, a 74-year-old Hungarian YouTuber, travelled to Orosháza, a small town in South-Eastern Hungary. Auntie Jolcsi started to learn about the internet and digital devices by herself, highlighting that digitalization is not a matter of age. The trio’s quest: to induce the members of a senior club to online gaming and the marvels of the digital age.
During a two months period, the magic trio together with the members of a local seniors’ club baked, unboxed, took selfies, played, laughed, climbed to mountain-tops and went on various quests – virtually, of course. At the end, the senior gamers team became a sensation at Hungary's biggest gaming convention in Budapest. Most important, as one of our colleagues, Peter Kormanyos, puts it: “we started something inspiring and helpful on a societal level too, encouraging many people to digitalize their own grannies or grandpas” and continues: “Thanks to the campaign, several senior clubs applied to learn about digitalization; it got so popular that Magyar Telekom integrated the digital transformation of the elderly into its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy as a core commitment”.
Video footage of the gaming grandparents was widely shared on the local social media. Becoming a smash hit in Hungary, the communication campaign also received an international award: a prestigious WARC Silver award for the effective use of brand purpose.
Connecting to people’s lives, in a purposeful and culture-relevant way, can be sometimes so meaningful and impactful as a simple act of affection. So, elderly and youngsters, ready to film a TikTok clip or game together?!