When a good-looking French woman - supposedly a 25-year-old model from Paris - appeared on Instagram in August, she speedily racked up more than 50,000 followers. Thanks to an assortment of fun-loving snaps of Louise Delage in typically Instagrammed scenarios - including the beach, shopping, and hanging out with friends in the city - people were quick to like and comment on the pretty model's photos. For many users, she seemed to have one of those impossibly perfect, sun-drenched Instagram lives. Little did they realise that Louise Delage wasn't a real person. Look a little closer at her snaps and ask yourself: What does every single one have in common?
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Whether it's a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in her hand, a cocktail by her side or even a sly bottle poking out from her handbag, Ms Delage's photos always come complete with an alcoholic drink. And while the 25-year-old is indeed a model from Paris, Ms Delage was in fact hired by the Parisian ad agency, BETC, to send a clever message about alcohol addiction to young people. As part of the company and Addict Aide's Like My Addiction campaign, she aimed to raise awareness of drinking among young people, and draw attention to the fact that alcoholism can be so easily missed.
By the time BETC released a YouTube video revealing who the model really was last week, it became clear how she had managed to trick so many people. Thanks to the model's clever 'lifestyle porn'-style shots and commonly-used food and nature Instagram hashtags, most people had simply assumed she was merely another fashion blogger-type, new and 'hot' on the social media platform. But as the video announced: "It's easy to miss the addiction of someone close." Since the clip and identity of Louise Delage was released on September 30, it has already garnered more than 350,000 hits. The BETC president and creative director, Stéphane Xiberras Paris, told AdWeek that while a "few people sensed the trap - a journalist among others - 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". "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," Mr Paris continued. The campaign has been praised for the clever way in which it highlighted a rather sobering message.