On the first of August 2016, a young girl appeared on Instagram and began documenting her adventures with diverse and colourful visuals. Two months later, she had amassed a following of 12,000 users and received 50,000 likes. Now the account boasts 16,000+ followers.
The revelation behind the chic life-loving and stylish 25-year old Parisian girl named Louise Delage brought down the Internet in France. The comments on her photos were full of praise related to how she seemed to enjoy her life to the fullest. What was baffling was that none of her followers were really aware of what they were liking and in turn seemed to simply voice their admiration for this free-spirited girl.
It’s only by carefully looking at her photos in hindsight that one can realise the common element in all her visuals, namely alcohol. Bottom line: Louise Delage is a young alcoholic, who nonetheless has become an overnight social media celebrity.
In fact, Paris-based ad agency BETC and production company Francine Framboise created this fake Instagram account to support the French organisation Addict' Aide, a web portal with the mission to help people fighting addiction. The aim of the Instagram hoax was to raise awareness among young people of how easy it is to miss the addiction of someone close.
“We wanted to use the media as a message (Thanks McLuhan!) I think that the possibilities to get your message through are endless for those who know how to use the right tools,” asserted Stephane Xiberras, President BETC Paris.
The organisation estimates that addictions are behind 20 percent of yearly deaths and 50 percent of criminal acts, especially among young people. In reality however, it’s easy to overlook the fact that someone close to you is starting to develop an addiction. Aside from the buzz this short film received, it highlighted the importance of the topic as well as the dangers.
"We all know a Louise Delage: the Addict Aide platform offers tools to help all who have concerns related to the drinking habits of loved ones," said Michel Reynaud, President of Actions for Addicts Foundation (Fonds Actions Addictions) and co-founder of the Addict Aide platform.