Who is this French Instagram star and what is her hidden public health message?

Louise Delage, a 25-year old Parisian woman, rose to fame when she hit the Instagram scene on the 1st of August this year. She enjoys a glamorous life of food, drinks, friends and travel.



In just a few months she attracted more than 17,000 followers. So, who is she?

Louise is a fictional character as part of a campaign called “Like My Addiction” created by the French alcohol support organisation Addict Aide. The organisation teamed up with the production company Francine Framboise and the French advertising agency BETC. Together, their aim was to raise awareness of alcohol addiction in young people.

According to the Addict Aide organisation, annually, one out of five mortalities in young people are attributed to alcohol.

BETC president Stéphane Xiberras informed Adweek that “we were briefed on the difficulty of detecting the addiction of someone close to you — a friend, a child or a parent.” He continued by saying, “we thought an interesting way of showing it would be to create a person people would meet every day but whom we’d never suspect of being an addict, by setting up a fake Instagram account.”






So how did they do it?

Stéphane and his team at BETC followed a four part social media marketing process.

1. Content

The agency posted three times per day – morning, lunchtime and late at night. They also studied the attitudes and image filters of various fashion bloggers.

2. Hashtags

Each post included 20 to 30 hashtags relating to food, fashion and parties to ensure that the posts would be reaching the relevant audience.

3. Bots

The team setup bots to follow specific types of Instagrammers – women and fashion bloggers – who had similar interests to Miss Delage. She followed approximately 3,000 people but amassed 16,000 followers.

4. Key opinion leader (KOL) strategy

The final part of the part of the process was the use of KOL strategy. BETC arranged for 20,000 to 100,000 social media influencers and opinion leaders to spread the word about the account (I am not one of them though).

Last month Xiberras and his team at BETC revealed the truth about the mysterious Louise Delage on Instagram and YouTube. The video asked “were her followers really aware of what they were following?” The video proceeded with images that were posted on the account and the number of likes she attracted. The end of the video zoomed in on the recurring common factor: alcohol.

It can be difficult to know when a person, particularly those closest to you, are addicted to alcohol. This was the idea that inspired Addict Aide’s campaign “Like My Addiction.” They wanted to show that even young ordinary people can experience alcohol addiction.

Hours after the reveal, Addict Aide saw a five times increase in traffic and became a trending topic on Twitter in France.

What this campaign has shown is the innovative way that social media can have a powerful influence on health promotion. An addiction may not always be obvious because as BETC president Stéphane has said, ”sometimes it seems like in this era, the more people stage their ideal life on social media, the more that serves to hide a not-so-ideal reality.”



What are your thoughts about an ad agency deliberately creating a false Instagram account to raise awareness about alcohol addiction?


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