By now, we’re all aware that nothing in real life is as perpetually perfect, glossy and well filtered as it is on Instagram.
Yet, most of us buy into this image and are quick to follow those whose pretty lives seem exciting, glamorous and indulgent.
Case-in-point: the beautiful, 25-year-old Louise Delage from Paris. Her perfectly curated Instagram account is filled with shots of her looking effortlessly chic in an assortment of outfits vacationing on sunny beaches, dining at trendy restaurants and partying, drink in hand.
To call her lifestyle extravagant would be a major understatement – and it’s definitely intriguing.
Within two months of joining Instagram, she had gained over 47,000 followers.
The only thing is that Louise isn’t a real person. The account was created as part of a campaign by the French organization Addict Aide, with the account and photos created and maintained with the help of a production company and ad agency.
The whole initiative was designed to raise awareness about drug, alcohol and other types of addiction.
The whole point of creating Louise was to show that it’s not always easy to spot someone with an alcohol addiction. The last post in the account features a video from the campaign highlights that in almost all of her 150 photos, she’s holding a drink.
Cocooning A photo posted by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on
Titled, “Like My Addiction,” the campaign wanted to “create a person people would meet every day” but would never suspect had an alcohol abuse problem,” according to AdFreak. And they successfully deceived most of Louise’s followers.
“We hoped for more followers to take notice of Louise’s behaviour,” Xiberras told AdFreak. “There were a few people who sensed the trap—a journalist among others, of course—but in the end, the majority just saw a pretty young girl of her time and not at all a kind of lonely girl, who is actually not at all that happy and with a serious alcohol problem.”
The thing is, we all have girls like Louise on our Instagram feeds.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your friends who like to pose with drinks in most of their pictures have a drinking problem.
But it does highlight a different side of alcoholism that’s often disguised by a halo effect of good looks and an extravagant lifestyle.
When we think “alcoholic,” we often think of the weathered old drunk at the neighbourhood bar. We overlook how things like circumstance and context mask potential problems. For example, things like vacations, dinners out and socializing with friends usually involve alcohol consumption. If you’re doing those things a lot – as “Louise” was – your lifestyle is probably going to involve more alcohol. I see it happen among my fellow event-going media friends. If you’re at an open bar event every night, consuming a lot of booze can become a normal part of your life. But, if you’re not careful, you can become addicted without even realizing it.
According to Addict Aide, one in five deaths in young people is the result of addiction.