Do you have friends or people you follow on social media who always have a drink in their hand? Does that seem normal to you? Did you ever wonder if they might have a problem?
Meet Louise Delage. She’s beautiful, trendy, and seems to lead a very glamorous life. The only problem is she’s always drinking… and no one notices. In the span of a few months, she was able to cultivate over 16,000 followers and 50,000 likes, few of whom noticed she is a functional alcoholic. The overwhelming majority of her followers just saw a pretty woman having fun, failing to notice her alcohol problem.
This is all part of a social campaign from Paris agency BETC called " Like My Addiction" rolled out for Addict Aide, which sought to raise awareness of alcoholism among young people. According to the organization, one out of every five deaths of young people each year is from addiction. The World Health Organization also warns of the hazards of alcohol, declaring that harmful alcohol consumption has now become "one of the most important risks to health: it is the leading risk factor in developing countries with low mortality rates and ranks third in developed countries, according to the World Health Report 2002." Alcohol use contributes to a wide range of diseases, health conditions and high-risk behaviours, from mental disorders and road traffic injuries, to liver diseases and unsafe sexual behaviour.
The truth about Louise was revealed in a video published on Instagram and YouTube:
BETC created massive visibility for Louise in a short period of time by building followers through the curation of content, hashtags, bots and a key opinion leader (KOL) strategy. They also posted two to three posts per day at high-traffic moments—in the morning, at lunchtime and late at night and studied fashion bloggers who are successful on social media. To ensure the content was found, each post included a mix of 20-30 hashtags related to fashion, food, nature and parties.
Following the disclosure of the campaign, Addict Aide saw five times more traffic to its site than normal. The story generated over 140 articles and was a trending topic on Twitter in France.
Despite the activity, however, some still wonder if the campaign had the intended effect. The campaign’s approach may have been too subtle to really hit home with target audience— young people who themselves post similar items across social media.
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