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11th June 2024

Small Talk Makes a Big Difference

And the pub’s the place to do it… 54% of Britons say the random acts of connection they make with strangers in pubs help to alleviate feelings of loneliness  

They are the focal points of our communities and the comforting homes from home we go to unwind at the end of long days and relax in on weekends. To kick-off this year’s Loneliness Awareness Week, new research has been released today showing that pubs are officially the places where we’re most likely to talk to new people and forge new connections.

What’s more, 54% of Britons say those small moments of connection they experience in pubs makes them feel less lonely.

The data has been released by HEINEKEN UK and its charity partner, Marmalade Trust, the UK’s leading loneliness awareness charity to mark Loneliness Awareness Week 2024 which runs from Monday 10 June to Sunday 16 June 2024.

Despite living in an ever more ‘connected world’, 85% of adults in the UK confess to having experienced loneliness in the last 12 months*, which is in part why this year HEINEKEN UK and Marmalade Trust are focusing on the power of these random acts of connection to change the social stigmas surrounding loneliness.

The data reveals how 55% of people feel happier and less lonely after making small talk with a stranger, but people yearn for more random acts of connection in their lives – 47% said as much. And in terms of where they can go to get it, all roads lead back to the great British pub.

Almost one in three people (30%) say that the pub is the place where they are most likely to have laughed or smiled during an exchange with a stranger, and in a statistic to warm the heart, over half (56%) say they’ve forged on-going friendship with a once-stranger they met in a pub.  This rises to 74% for Gen Z’s, and in terms of geographical splits, surprisingly it’s people from London who are most likely to convert spontaneous encounters with folk they meet in pubs into on-going friendships. A cool 64% said it’s something they’ve done.

In order to further encourage these random acts of connection, HEINEKEN UK and Marmalade Trust have produced a series of striking, conversation-starting posters to adorn the walls of your favourite local.

Flipping the famous ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ posters, developed by the British Government during World War Two, the new prints each carry the strapline ‘Small Talk Improves Lives’ in the same famous and familiar style as the originals. From strangers conversing about the weather on the bus, dog walkers bonding over their pets, people chatting about the football results to strangers getting friendly over a drink down their local. The posters bring to life a few of the different random acts of connection which we could encounter in our day-to-day.

Commenting on the new campaign, Pete Brown, drinking culture journalist, said; “The British pub has evolved as a wonderful complement for who we are. We’re traditionally known to be quite reserved, stiff upper lip. The pub is this unique place where, when you’re at the bar, you can start talking to a stranger and it’s not weird. Pub connections can be just a few minutes which make you feel a bit happier. Or they could be the start of lifelong friendships.

“The pub is the great leveller – once you walk over the threshold, you’re in a unique space where you can talk to everyone and anyone. As someone who is nervous about approaching people I don’t know, I’ve experienced both. And everything in between.”

Ron Moody, CEO of the Marmalade Trust, added; “As Loneliness Awareness Week 2024 begins, I am excited to highlight such insightful research carried out by our partners HEINEKEN UK, which underlines the vital role that pubs, amongst other social spaces, have in fostering human connection. At Marmalade Trust we believe it’s crucial to raise awareness that loneliness is a natural human emotion, one that affects people of all ages.

“Our partnership with HEINEKEN UK is invaluable in terms of helping to raise this awareness and remove the social stigma attached to loneliness. Together, we are dedicated to fostering this understanding and to building a more compassionate community – let’s use this week to start conversations, build connections, and support one another. Perhaps next time you are down at your local pub, ask them how their day is. You never know, it could lead to a lasting friendship”.

Ron shares three of the ways that people can get involved and help make this a reality:

  1. Make #RandomActsofConnection and encourage those around you to do the same.
  2. Share our campaign graphics on your social media channels.
  3. Host or join an event and be sure to add it to the map on our website


For further information, to get high-resolution poster images, or to request an interview with a case study, Pete Brown, Ron Moody, or a HEINEKEN UK spokesperson, please contact COW on the below.


Tel: 0207 234 9150

Notes to editors

*The silent epidemic (

Statistics quoted from Censuswide research conducted by HEINEKEN (2,000 nationally representative UK general consumers), May 2024


Marmalade Trust is a leading UK loneliness charity for all ages and the only charity in the world specifically dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness. Our mission is to create a society where we recognise that loneliness exists and support each other to find new social connections. Marmalade Trust launched the first Loneliness Awareness Week in 2017 to reduce the stigma around loneliness and create a society where it is spoken about openly and normally.


Headquartered in Edinburgh, HEINEKEN is the UK’s leading pub, cider and beer business. The company owns around 2,400 pubs as part of its Star Pubs & Bars business and employs around 2,100 people. We are passionate about our cider and beer brands and the outstanding service that we offer to our customers. Our unrivalled portfolio of brands includes Heineken® 0.0, Heineken®, Foster’s, Strongbow, Cruzcampo, John Smith’s, Inch’s Cider, Amstel, Birra Moretti and Old Mout, backed by a full range of niche and specialty brands. HEINEKEN also owns Beavertown and Brixton Brewery.

Please find supporting imagery in the link here

For further information, to get high-resolution poster images, or to request an interview with a case study, Pete Brown, Ron Moody, or a HEINEKEN UK spokesperson, please contact COW on the below.


Tel: 0207 234 9150

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