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Drowning simulator uses terror to promote life jackets

Drowning simulator uses terror to promote life jackets

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The film that plays when you visit interactive life jacket awareness website Sortie En Mer begins optimistically. You watch from the first-person perspective of a man sailing on a calm, blue ocean. Your friend, coming up from below deck, notes the beautiful weather. You ask him to take the wheel, and steps to the front of the boat to adjust the sails. It's there that the story takes a darker turn: you're knocked into the sea by a swinging boom, and left to flounder as your friend tries, and fails, to bring the boat around.

Sortie En Mer's forced perspective makes for a harrowing experience as you try to prolong the time before your character drowns. Scrolling up keeps your head above the water, but with your friend disappearing into the horizon in your tiny boat, there doesn't appear to be any help coming. Your character pulls at his shoes in a desperate attempt to stay afloat longer, but the freezing cold of the water means he's forced to rub his feet to get the feeling back. After three minutes in the water, the temperature means he can yank his fingernails off like pull-tabs from a Coke can.

Sortie En Mer simulates the fatigue of staying afloat in freezing water

Eventually the simple action of scrolling becomes too arduous and tiresome to continue, and your character starts to descend into the water. His life, and his wife, flash before his eyes, before he jolts back to consciousness one more time resting against the sandy bottom of the ocean. The website's message — always wear a lifejacket at sea — flashes up after the screen goes black. It's a distressing, yet effective use of interactive design by agency CLM BBDO for yachtwear manufacturer Guy Cotten, that drives home an important message.