NEWTOWN, CT: The signs of a potential shooter aren’t always obvious, which is why Sandy Hook Promise has released a PSA that puts viewers in the shoes of the shooter himself.
Point of View reunites Dini von Mueffling Communications and BBDO, the duo behind 2016’s hugely successful Evan PSA, which took home several Gold Lions and reached more than 150 million views.
Each Sandy Hook Promise PSA shows a school shooting from a different perspective, explained the gun violence prevention group’s MD Nicole Hockley. Evan ostensibly tells a meet cute story about high school students, while the warning signs of a school shooting brew in the background. The Point of View video tells the story through the eyes of a shooter.
"We add a different layer and a different level of thought and conversation-provoking elements [with each PSA]," said Hockley. "Now that people are becoming more familiar with Sandy Hook Promise’s PSAs – the first one Evan surprised everyone because they had no idea – I’m hoping everyone is looking for the signs to see what they missed before."
Point of View aired on Good Morning America, NBC’s Today show, and CBS This Morning on Monday morning, and it was covered by People magazine.
Hockley launched Sandy Hook Promise one month after the December 2012 shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was one of the 20 children killed in the shooting that also claimed the lives of six adult staffers.
One of the more jarring aspects about Point of View is that it literally puts a firearm into the hands of the audience.
"It’s kind of hard on a personal level, but I’ve become a master at compartmentalizing," Hockley said of the experience. "I’m always Dylan’s Mom, of course, but sometimes I have to put my straight business and marketing hat on and look at it as a business problem and solution. When I take that hat off, then the emotions hit me hard."
Hockley said sometimes she can’t keep that "hat" on. She explained that she was unable to go to certain shoots for the PSA because she didn’t think she would be able to "stomach" it.
"[I thought it would] be too traumatizing for me," she said.
Dini von Mueffling Communications has made a name for itself in the cause-related campaigns it’s been involved in, including Monica Lewinsky’s crusade to end bullying and the Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC, formed by parents of Marjory Stone Douglas High School students.
"The video is from the perspective of someone having a normal day in school," said CEO and founder Dini von Mueffling. "But what he’s going through is not normal, what he does isn’t normal, it’s a call to action to stay more vigilant, to help them and ourselves."
Rupert Sanders, who helmed Snow White and the Huntsman, directed Point of View.
"I sincerely hope that the work we have done will, in some small way, help to educate young people to see the signs of a threat before they become a tragedy," Sanders said in a statement. "It deeply saddens me that we have to make these PSAs at all."
Sandy Hook Promise has trained more than 5.5 million students and adults on how to spot the warning signs of a potential threat.