Ready to play a game that's terrifying, impossible to win and no fun at all? Great! Check out "Sortie En Mer." If you have a fear of the open ocean, do not play this game. Seriously. It's a drowning simulator.
The simulator puts you in the shoes of Julien, a French leisure sailor out for a sail with his extremely incompetent friend Charles. After you give Charles the rudder (mistake number one), a swinging boom knocks you off the boat and Charles, of course, can’t turn it around.
Charles' second mistake was to not wear a life jacket. In order to tread water, you have to continuously scroll up, but (SPOILER ALERT!) you drown at the end anyway.
If you hold out for a few minutes, you see Julien struggling to stay afloat. He takes his shoes off to swim better, which doesn’t work out well when his feet go numb. The cold temperatures get to his fingers too; his fingernails come off with ease in the freezing ocean water.
As you continue to scroll and scroll, Julien begins to hallucinate rescue teams and Charles coming to his rescue. Unfortunately, there’s no way out for Julien in "Sortie En Mer." The game ends with a flashback to someone we can assume is Julien’s wife, and then you get a final POV view of the bottom of the ocean, where Julien lies dead.
All in all it’s a terrible experience. But that’s the point.
The ad is by CLM BBDO for the French nautical outfitters Guy Cotten, who sell, amongst other things, life jackets. The simulator ends with a simple message:
“At sea, you tire faster than you think. Whenever you go out to sea, wear your life jacket.”
Message received. In that respect, it has to be one of the most effective interactive ads on the Internet. There’s something about the simplicity of it that sucks you into the primal state of mind Julien enters when he finds himself struggling in the middle of the ocean.
The dark, infinite ocean. The flashbacks and hallucinations. The discomforting screams of Julien as time slips past him. All add up to a harrowing experience that you’re sure to remember next time you get on a boat (along with your life jacket).
That is, if you ever get on a boat again.
Watch the a teaser for "Sortie En Mer " below: