Louise Delage is the perfect Instagrammer — she’s pretty, adventurous, and ridiculously photogenic.
Since her profile opened in August of this year, she’s gathered thousands of followers. Her photos picked up tens of thousands of likes as she toured around Paris, enjoying dinners, the beach, parties, and day-to-day life.
Three weeks ago, the photos stopped. Delage’s final update reveals the truth: she never existed. More importantly, though, out of those followers, comments and likes, no one really noticed that she had a drink close at hand in almost every single photo. Her drinking habits were appealing, even glamorous. And the likes kept flowing, tacitly encouraging her behavior.
Delage was the creation of Paris agency BETC, star of the campaign “Like My Addiction.” AdWeek covered the campaign after the deception was revealed:
The campaign was created with help from production company Francine Framboise for Addict Aide, which sought to raise awareness of alcoholism among young people. Per the organization, out of every five deaths of young people annually, one is from addiction. Addict Aide provides resources for people who are worried about their own alcohol consumption, or that of someone close to them.
“We were briefed on the difficulty of detecting the addiction of someone close to you—a friend, a child or a parent,” BETC president and creative director Stéphane Xiberras Paris tells AdFreak. “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.”
If you believe that someone in your life might have a substance abuse problem, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has comprehensive advice on how to help. If you’re coping with alcohol-related problems, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers a great explanation of your treatment options — while it’s an American organization, its information is widely applicable.