The Campaign that Made Society Aware of Unwanted Loneliness

Llorente y Cuenca (LLYC) is a Spanish consulting agency specializing in communication, reputation management, and public affairs with offices in several countries. At the end of 2019, LLYC partnered with BBK, a Spanish banking foundation with a passion for social projects. Together, they created a high-impact campaign that became a clear example of how to combine communication, effectiveness, and creativity. 

What the campaign consisted of:

The campaign was based on the observation that elderly loneliness only ever caught the media’s attention when there was the death of a single person in their home. The aim of the campaign was to call attention to unwanted loneliness, especially for those over the age of 65. To demonstrate this problem, a hyperrealist sculpture created by Rubén Orozco was installed in one of the most crowded parks of Bilbao in memory of Mercedes, “the last person who died in loneliness.” The initiative created much noise on social networks, where everyone wondered who the mysterious old woman was.

Social results:

The action generated a giant collective impact where many citizens became aware and shocked by the situation, then started posting opinions on every social media platform. As a result, the campaign gained visibility, which was one of its main purposes.

Two days after the sculpture was installed, the media was summoned for a press conference; it was revealed that the woman of the sculpture, Mercedes, was actually alive. Mercedes presented herself to the media, and — along with LLYC — drew attention to all the projects BBK launched in response to this problem, as well as the relevance of this one. Mercedes contributed, in large part, to shaping and raising awareness for the events, promoting a change of action for Spanish citizens. “I am a privileged one, the fact that I was chosen for something like this is unusual,” said the woman in the video released by LLYC (originally in Spanish) about the campaign.

Results in Numbers:

LLYC was at the center of the conversation and Mercedes became a symbol of the fight against unwanted loneliness. As a result, BBK volunteers increased by about 45%. Other quantitative results of the campaign were this:

  • 20 million impressions on social media
  • 66% increase of brand awareness
  • 83 million people reached
  • 300 media impacts
  • 4 million euros worth in advertising value


This campaign was powerful, provocative, and shocking. The campaign encouraged people to change behaviors, which impacted many lives, such as Mercedes.

As a communicator and a person with the desire to help others, I learned about the importance of using my PR skills to do impactful things, such as raising awareness about ways we can feel empathy for others. For people such as the lonely and marginalized, we can remember that giving them attention, support, affection, and the possibility to feel our presence — all of which are public relations skills — can make a huge difference. This campaign accentuates the magic of communication, and the way PR professionals can change perspectives, which are two things I aim to be a part of.

Ornella Méndez Caprio is a second year student at UADE in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received a bachelor’s degree in communication, and has been discovering her passion for PR and communication since then. Ornella has practiced PR for several organizations, including ONG´S and UADE’s PRSSA Chapter, where she currently serves as their Events Commissioner.

As a passionate, adventurous, and determined individual, Ornella is always looking for initiatives to join so that she can help bring about change. You can contact Ornella on LinkedIn.

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