Back before ‘Twitter’ became ‘X’.
Back when I ran Creative Agencies.
I helped clients tiptoe onto Social Media in interesting and strategic ways.
You see, fifteen(ish) years ago the main reason people jumped on social.
Was because other people jumped on social.
(How far have we come?)
And that just isn’t very… interesting.
So, when working with Age UK, we did something unusual.
Unusual even for most of today’s marketers.
We had an idea.
Leeds and London.
For Age UK, we set up two Twitter accounts.
One for 75 year old Edna in Leeds.
One for 85 year old James in London.
And we grew to love Edna and James very, very much.
Even though they didn’t actually exist.
We loved listening in to Edna and James.
Chatting across Twitter.
Navigating the tech.
“Hello. Hello. This is my first twit.”
“It’s a Tweet.”
But the real magic was the raw reality of their story.
The beautiful conversations between Edna and James were joyous.
Flush-cheeked Edna and James told stories of courting with their respective young loves.
On park benches.
On the back seats of a Ford Anglia.
Which was hard work, according to Edna.
And James laughed.
As I say.
But the purpose of this campaign was not (just) to show the beauty of older people’s loves, lives and conversations.
And that’s why, some days, when James would not answer at all.
Edna would fret.
That’s why, in the weeks where absent James was who-knows-where.
Lying at the bottom of some stairs, maybe.
And Edna became desperately lonely.
And that’s why, when James reappeared, sometimes confused, James would be on the receiving and of a real bollocking from a relived-but-angry Edna.
The relationship developed.
Edna and James grew closer.
One day, James confided in Edna about the shame and physical discomfort that comes from him wetting himself.
“It hurts, Edna.”
It happened when the girls that should have come to help him.
Did not come to help him.
And James told Edna this.
Because he had no one else to tell.
Edna and James.
When Edna shared her latest success story across the Twitterverse (X-averse?)
A story of managing to open the new strawberry jam all by herself.
James did not offer his usual congratulations.
James did not answer at all.
It’s been a week now.
I don’t like it when you do this James.
You know I’ll tell you off James when you do reappear!
It was a simple idea.
And a good one because instead of using social media to tell people something.
We used social media to make people feel something.
And that’s always better.
I should know.
Because I still miss Edna and James, today.
Even though they never actually existed.