Missing People - The Missing Lines

House 337 released an audiobook, narrated by Stephen Fry, that didn’t have an ending. Called The Missing Lines, it tells the story of Marcus - a teenager caught up in county lines drug dealing. After three minutes of story the audio abruptly cuts out, to signify the main character going missing.

For the next eight chapters, audiences can hear nothing but silence. The listener is deprived of any information about Marcus’ journey and is left with no conclusion. This is designed to reflect the real-life experiences of thousands of people who experience loved ones going missing.


We treated our audiobook like any regular book, and launched it with a national OOH campaign, audio ads, influencer activity, and on Stephen’s Instagram.

Thousands of people downloaded the book, only to be left in a state of limbo, when they realised it cuts out and they are left with nothing but silence. People reacted with confusion and frustration, which we stoked with further influencer activity.

The Reveal.

Four days later, we revealed everything. We released a tenth chapter of the book and a video on Stephen’s instagram explaining that the audiobook wasn’t broken and was, in fact, a stunt for Missing People.

He explains that thousands of people in the UK go missing each year and points to the work that Missing People do to help find them and support the loved ones they leave behind.

The Reaction.

People took the campaign in good spirits. With comments like: “I have to admit it was a very clever marketing ploy for an important cause” and “I can't for a moment imagine what that would be like to have someone just go missing. Just suddenly gone. The pain and anguish would be truly insufferable”.

The campaign received national coverage and gave the public a small glimpse into the anguish that families of the missing feel, all without the charity having to spend a penny.


With zero budget, the campaign achieved:

  • 3.5m+ reach
  • 16,000+ downloads
  • No.1 Fiction podcast in 8 countries

The chance to work with Stephen Fry doesn’t come along often. So to use that opportunity to record a story that doesn’t even have an ending may seem odd. But we needed to do something a bit unusual to even begin getting across how it feels for the families and loved ones of people who go missing. And we were only able to do that thanks to an army of talented people donating their time and talent. From the vocal skills of Stephen Fry, to the audio wizardry of Wave, to the podcast expertise of Adelicious and Listen, to the generosity of Ocean Outdoor, JC Decaux and GoodStuff. So thanks to all involved.

Steve Hawthorne, Creative Director at House 337

Back to all case studies