Cause marketing often struggles to engage people who are not already open to the message. With The Killer, we utilised experiential 360 storytelling to lure millennials and horror film fans searching for visceral, new film experiences into coming face to face with the most terrifying aspects of homelessness. 


The Strategy

With VR headsets predicted to top 180 million by the end of 2018, we set out to use this new medium to not only attract a new audience to the cause but to tell this story in a way way that pushes boundaries and has never been done before. The power of 360˚ film gives the viewer the sense ofseeing the world through new eyes, as a result you feel the humanity of a story in a deeper way. We asked ourselves, would we raise awareness and empathy of the homeless problem by luring horror and immersive film fans into becoming an victim of all too real horror?

The situation

From 2010 to 2016, homelessness in the UK increased by 134%. Lack of affordable housing, soaring rents and welfare cuts turned an early 2000s success story into a rising epidemic. But despite these tragic numbers, many of us believe the homeless choose their fate. We see them as drunks. As drug addled losers who make poor decisions. Or, we don’t see them at all. But the reality is no so clear. Studies show that homelessness is caused by a complex interplay between a person's individual circumstances and adverse 'structural' factors far outside their direct control. So how do we change minds about the homeless?


The idea

This would be the anti-Dove campaign; not aimed at people searching for inner or natural beauty, but rather at those celebrating beauty products as the vehicle to become their best selves. After all, It was the make-up obsessed, the collectors and fashionistas that would be most open to purchasing of a £7 tube of toothpaste but also to the idea that a great smile is an essential part of beauty.

Film: Trailer for The Killer

It’s the film’s unique twist that will be at the heart of the driving online buzz and word of mouth. The film will be marketed as a pure VR horror short, but only by the end does the viewer realise it’s in fact much more than that. Directed by Tom Stoddart, who launched a fantastic horror short Rose in 2015, the film will be released during the 2017 Halloween season both digitally and at events in London, maximising it’s great horror pedigree. 

At the conclusion of the film, we reveal the Killer’s true identity. He is homelessness personified. Each scene in the film is engineered to make you feel what it’s like to be homeless. Each taken from the true stories of people who have lived on the streets. This unconventional film is strategically aimed at breaking through the clutter in these artistic and edgy East London neighbourhoods that are currently seeing a shocking increase in rough sleepers.


The Killer is unreleased at this time as it goes through the final production phase. It will be released this Halloween on Youtube 360, Vimeo 360 and on the Samsung VR app platform.