“Can you survive a day in the water?”. Many people might answer this question with “yes”, but when it comes to the Swiss lakes and rivers, it’s unfortunately not always the case.

Every summer in Switzerland, many young people spend their time in and around the water, which often leads to accidents. To create awareness around the dangers of open water, BOFF. produced the interactive video “Save your friends” for the Swiss Lifesaving Society and Visana. It resulted in the video receiving a Silver Dolphin at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards in the category Interactive Videos.

We had a chat with Alejandro Ortega, co-founder of BOFF., the Swiss video production company that created the campaign.

Can you tell us more about the “Save your friends” campaign and why it’s so important?

“In Switzerland about 45 people die every year, either on a river or a lake, and the majority are young men between the ages of 15 and 30. So Visana and the Swiss Lifesaving Society set up the campaign “Save your friends” to educate young people on the dangers and safety measures of open waters, to prevent accidents from happening.”

The gamification in the video enhances engagement and really makes you feel like you’re the main character. What was the thought process behind this?

“We decided to film the video in a first person perspective, as it really immerses the viewer into the different situations throughout the video. This resembles many first-person video games, where you take on the role of the main character.

Other gamification elements, like the timer and “losing a life”, create a sense of urgency with the viewers. This is similar to real life, as in dangerous situations you need to act fast and making wrong decisions has serious consequences.”

You mentioned the campaign has been around for two years. What did you do in previous years and why did you choose an interactive video for this year’s campaign?

“In previous years, the campaign was mainly a multiple choice quiz on a website. In order to really get the attention of our target audience, we realized we needed to create something that would stand out and raise awareness.

A lot of us here at the office are Netflix junkies and immediately the interactive project “Bandersnatch” came to mind. We wanted to create a similar video where the user decides what happens next in the story.”

You had a very clear idea about what video you wanted to make. How did you end up working with Blue Billywig?

“I just turned to Google to find a platform that could make something similar to “Bandersnatch”. The first hit that caught my eye was the Lifesaver video by the Resuscitation Council UK and it was exactly the kind of video I was looking for.

After some more searching I found Blue Billywig. I saw the client cases for the Swedish Red Cross and the Dutch Burns Foundation and those were exactly the types of video I wanted to create.”

What was your experience working together with Blue Billywig?

“It was an easy process and collaboration right from the beginning. Our ideas were aligned and I felt that we were on the same page. I couldn’t wait to get started.”

What did you like most about the Interactive Video Studio?

“What I really love about the tool is the versatility and flexibility of it. There are so many options and possibilities, such as adding your own JavaScript and creating templates for videos.

Since Switzerland has four official languages, we wanted to create the same video in four languages. That became a whole lot easier by using the templates and being able to clone entire projects, instead of having to create everything from scratch four times.”

Can we expect more videos like this one in the future?

““Save your friends” is a yearly recurring campaign, and we already have some new ideas lined up for next year. We’re also using this current project in our portfolio to reach out to new clients to start using interactive video. This video is just the beginning.”

Want to read more about the “Save your friends” video? You can read the client case here.