Matthew Miller
Nov 19, 2013

Sea Shepherd website puts public in midst of anti-whaling action

AUSTRALIA - An interactive website for Sea Shepherd Australia puts users into the very wet shoes of the organisation's crew members as they make split-second decisions while acting to protect whales on the open ocean.

Sea Shepherd website puts public in midst of anti-whaling action

The 'Get behind the defenders' website, by design and technology studio Cypha, begins by asking users to select from among a few short video segments, each of which presents a perilous situation on the high seas. For example, one video puts the website visitor inside a small boat speeding to place itself between a whaling ship and a pod of Minke whales.

The site then asks the user to choose between intervening or retreating, followed by another video segment outlining the consequences of that choice. All along, calls to action invite users to donate to the organisation.

“Because organisations like Sea Shepherd exist, some complacency has developed over the last few years, but the reality is, without the public’s support, Sea Shepherd can no longer continue to protect our oceans," said Alex Christian, creative partner at Cypha. "So we shifted the focus from defending our oceans to defending those people who defend our oceans. The endangered species this year are the Sea Shepherd crew.” 

People who donate can upload their photo to a 'Wall of defenders' that doubles as a virtual petition in favour of the organisation's efforts, according to the agency. Needless to say, contributors also get to share word of their donations via social-media sites.

“People proudly donate to a cause because it says something about who they are and what they stand for,” said Daniel Christos, technical partner at Cypha. “We made it easy for users to share their support with their network, while at the same time tapping into the power of the group by showing photos of others who are already behind the crew. This creates a unique and novel experience compared to traditional donation mechanics”

The site is the first of a series of executions Cypha is working on for Sea Shepherd.

The agency declined to share name-by-name credits, preferring to keep the focus on its collective approach.

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