At first glace, Louise Delage looks like a lot of popular “instagram stars” – a young beauty with a seemingly fabulous feed full of pretty poses, parties, cocktails, and fun adventures. Since her account was started on August 1st, she’s already gotten 38 thousand followers. But she (or rather, the people behind the account) fooled everyone, in an absolutely brilliant way.
The instagram of Parisian 25 year old Louise Delage seemed innocent enough. Just over 120 posts, showing the beauty in various stages of what seemed like an idyllic life. But there was a pattern – a subtle one, or at the very least, one that we tend to forgive, ignore, or even celebrate.
More often than not, Delage was holding, or inches away from an alcoholic beverage.
It was not a coincidence.
Louise – if that is even a real person’s name – is actually the central figure of a campaign from Paris agency BETC called “Like My Addiction.”
A video published on Instagram and YouTube last week made the shocking, brilliant reveal. We’d fallen for a culture of social celebration, all the while witnessing an addict’s day to day life, portrayed as not only normal, but exceptional.
The firm enlisted the help of a production company, Francine Framboise for Addict Aide, which helped assemble the content into a powerful statement. The idea, that detecting an addiction is often difficult, or perhaps moreso easy to ignore, even among people closest to us, comes across powerfully in the video.
Utilizing knowledge of how instagram users find and follow new members, the agency used content, hastags, keywords and bots to gain a huge following in a short period of time. (Having a beautiful central character doesn’t hurt either.) During high traffic moments, in the morning, lunchtime and late night hours (when social media users tend to do the most “stalking”) they posted two to three posts a day, and even copied the style of models and fashion bloggers, right down to the filters they often used. They used hashtags (sometimes up to 30) related to fashion, food and partying. A ‘bot’ then followed and liked specific instagram users that were into fashion, as well as bloggers and celebrities… allowing users to discover her via their list of followers.
The science and strategy of how they built the following and the character is fascinating, indeed… but the message behind it, that an addict may be closer to you than you think – is doubly powerful. It’s widely believed that the images we see on a person’s social media feed are often glamorized and embellished. Perhaps being duped online isn’t such a bad thing once in a while if it makes you think.
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