Auckland City Mission highlights the life of the homeless

Auckland City Mission has launched a 360-degree video experience, “The Harsh Reality” that drops the viewer into a series of confronting vignettes, shot from the perspective of one of Auckland’s homeless.

Created to kick-start Auckland City Mission’s 2016 Winter Appeal, the experience serves not only to highlight the terrible conditions facing Auckland’s homeless, but also to force the viewer to see through the eyes of a rough sleeper — driving home that these are real people, just like anyone else.

The 360-degree experience, produced by Track and DDB, is currently hosted online by NZME on the New Zealand Herald website, which is a first for the publisher. Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly, said this new method of storytelling perfectly suits the brief of encouraging Aucklanders to connect with the plight of their less-fortunate neighbours.

“When we asked Track to help us with our Winter Appeal, and they responded with this innovative idea of bringing to life the stories of our city’s rough sleepers we thought, ‘We absolutely need to do this’,” Farrelly said.

“They’ve got a very talented team who were able to provide the necessary support on what was a very technical project, and a story that needed to be told with equal amounts of creativity and compassion.”

Track’s creative director, Jeff Harris, said this project was a perfect case where the story and the objective dictated the technology and the channel, rather than using technology for its own sake.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to use the latest technology to tell this important story, in a way that it hasn’t been told before,” Harris said.

“There’s a lot of media coverage at the moment about the plight of our city’s homeless and I’m sure people are concerned on an intellectual level, but to really immerse Aucklanders in this issue, on a visceral level that’s impossible to ignore, we felt we needed to create a compelling experience that puts the viewer in their shoes. Working with DDB to deliver a 360 video was the perfect solution,” Harris said.

Auckland City Mission’s Winter Appeal runs from 1 July to 16 August 2016, and will also be supported by a donation drive through outdoor, press advertising and online.