Web Highlights: Sortie En Mer

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Web Highlights: Sortie En Mer

Web Highlights is an ongoing series showcasing some of the brightest and most useful destinations online, celebrating the imaginative minds that come together in web development to make the internet a more interesting place.

If you follow our Takeaways (you should!) you know that at Headspace we put a lot of stock in developing unique, effective experiences. That may sound like a pitch, but the reality of web design is that without the ‘wow’ factor, without the one-of-a-kind website that users will really want to sink their teeth into, a digital strategy is more likely to flounder, and we’re going to have a lot less fun in the development process. In short, we have a deep appreciation for experiences that are executed well. We dig the jaw-droppers.

With that said, today’s entry into the Web Highlights series is arguably more of an interactive film than a full-on website, but it’s certainly a powerful experienced packaged into a URL, delivered to establish a message, and the result of collaboration between many talented minds. This is Sortie En Mer, a simulated drowning scenario that ultimately reminds sailors to wear life jackets.

Directed by Ben Strebel and manufactured by GrouekCLM BBDO, and Wanda Productions, Sortie En Mer doesn’t have links, galleries, forums or eCommerce. It’s a unidirectional ride that prompts the user to do one thing: scroll to stay alive. The premise is simple and the input method may sound like a detachment factor, but it’s quite the opposite. As soon as you’re asked to participate in an event that’s so far from the navigation you’re accustomed to, the experience becomes frightening. It’s marketing genius from Guy Cotten.

What makes websites like these so entertaining is how rare they are. Website owners pour their resources and their energy into maintaining a presence online that encourages return traffic, is meaningful and often, lucrative. It’s not every day you encounter a destination that’s simply a means to an end. You won’t see many users bookmarking Sortie En Mer - and that’s a triumph. Instead, users will be bookmarking the scenario mentally, and the experience will spark conversations that carry over into social media and coffee with friends.

Agencies see many requests for sustainable websites that will generate long-term value, but it’s not every day that you see a request for a one-off designed to make an impression and leave it at that. It’s a somewhat revolutionary way of shifting focus away from the website and directly to your statement. There’s nothing for the user to consider or do once they’ve drowned (spoiler), other than to contemplate the idea and the suggested solution. In this, both the nature and the execution of Sortie En Mer are in sync with their departure from conventional website build and navigation.

Here’s the idea: you don’t always need a conventional website to get your point across. Storefronts, blogs, submission fields - these aren’t mandatory staples of a website. They’re simply points of navigation used to serve a specific purpose, and when you consider exactly what you need carefully, you may find that you can get the message across with one poignant well delivered idea. The fun is in working on how to manifest that idea.

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