the keys to the success of the 1st Virtual Meeting for Drug Addicts Anonymous

When the virtual helps the real.

The last two years of the pandemic and successive incarcerations have led to major upheavals in society: on our consumption, our habits and use, our psyche, from our dreams to our memory, but also our mental health. Isolation, anxiety, fear or boredom have further weakened already vulnerable people.

All forms of addiction have worsened under the impact of the health crisis, as revealed by a study conducted by the BVA Institute for Association Addictions France in April 2021: more than a third of users then stated that they had increased their consumption over the last twelve months. Whether it is tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, but also drugs (including psychotropic). How can we help these people at a time when health and social distance measures are preventing self-help organizations from meeting and video conferencing meetings showing their limit?

This is the challenge that the association may take up Narcotics Anonymous and to which the Socialyse bureau (the content marketing bureau of the media department in Havas) responded with an unprecedented initiative: the first meeting organized in the metaverse. Emilie Cabanieleader of Influence, and Emmanuel Quérésenior strategic planner at Socialyse Paris, reflects on this experience from another world.

The card

In September last year, Socialyse Paris came into contact with the association Anonymous Drug Addicts through an acquaintance ofEmilie Cabanie be part of the organization’s professionals. The latter face a problem: their method is proven and effective, but it is not identified in the public landscape as one of the solutions to end addiction. ” This person who knows my job and the agency I worked for came to meet me to move forward and support them in this matter. “, she remembers.

The special nature of the association (anywhere in the world) and not least: it can speak but has no right to “proselytize” to “recruit” (via forums in the press for example) and must – of course – respect the anonymity of members. Narcotics Anonymous is organized horizontally so there is no president or spokesman. At present, the agency has no solution to offer. “If Narcotics Anonymous across the channel is a well-known association and is used by the public authorities, the judicial system and the health system in France, it is not a reflex when it comes to treating addiction. People are rather sent to doctors who treat them with psychoanalysis or drugs when they are not sent to a detoxification center“, continues Emilie Cabanie.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, NA is notRequiem for a dream the association treats all types of drugs: the first causes are drugs, alcohol or cannabis“, exactly Emmanuel Quéré, senior strategic planner at Socialyse Paris.

By the time the association and the agency meet, the NAs have been conducting all meetings at Zoom for two years: ” They lost this aspect of human presence, brotherhood and warmth behind the scenesremember again Emmanuel Quéré. Similarly, new members who pushed a door to return had this added obstacle to having to find an online meeting, to strip without the opportunity to come ‘to seer ‘”. The association also makes it possible to welcome” observers “, people who come to see how a meeting goes, but also screenwriters and directors who want to permeate their work with realism.

The idea

It was through an invitation from Facebook in November last year that the Socialyse Paris duo saw the solution emerge. Just renamed to Meta, the group invites a few partners to give their customers a preview of the internal metaverse. Emmanuel Quéré sees it as the perfect spotlight for Drug Addicts Anonymous: ” It was by removing our VR headset after our presentation that we thought this process would be interesting to place the association in the media space. . To diaslater the concept is proposed to the developer. WhileEmmanuel Quéré is convinced make a space oven “, The association’s leader brings out his own VR helmet in full presentation. Valid.

Now we need to bring this meeting to life, adapt it to the proposed concept: it should take 40 minutes and discuss all the themes discussed during a classic meeting of members – new and old – with heterogeneous background and testimony. The members who agreed to participate in the experiment were then trained individually and anonymously by VR Academy, service provider on the operation. The first meeting with Drug Addicts Anonymous could take place.

How was the environment in which the meeting took place in virtual reality chosen and designed? In collaboration with VR Académie, Socialyse designed a tailor-made world from several existing worlds with the association’s representative. No beach, as first imagined Emmanuel Quérébut a more “realistic” environment, not too bling-bling, with a round table where members could meet and face each other.

The countryside

It took place in 2 parts:
– invite journalists to attend the meeting as spectators knowing that the number of seats was limited. Eight media were contacted. Everyone responded present, including Réclame.

– At the end of the meeting, all assets were restored, a video was edited in the process so that it was sent to an expanded list of generalist and BtoB media, and verbatim statements that delivered their feelings on the spot from the members were sent included in press release.

From the confession ofEmilie Cabanie, who has already attended a meeting in physics and gathered the warm reactions of the members, this meeting had everything of an IRL meeting, despite the first technological brakes. And even some additional benefits: The VR headset allows real immersion, listening and concentration that a meeting at Zoom does not offer, where the external environment can play the disruptive agents (phone, person (s) we live with, etc. ).

This will not replace a physical meeting, but provides an additional means of breaking the glass ceiling of anonymity, of the possible reluctance at the first meeting.appreciated Emilie Cabanie. There is a sense of ultimate concentration as we find ourselves in a universe that we only leave by removing our VR headsets.»

All members were seduced and had the impression of living a real meetingconfirm Emmanuel Quéré. This is what we expect from the metaverse, to break the virtual glass ceiling, feel emotions, “contact”. At the end of the meeting, someone said, “It’s really magic.” I was moved by this meeting and surprised by the reactions of the Members. As if they provided elements of language that I in my wildest dreams would have given them. »

The results

– Significant press coverage: “We have invited the media in the hope that they will advertise for the association, which it itself cannot. Remember Emmanuel Quéré.The goal was to reach a wide audience, doctors, politicians, people who could redirect to NA. »Mission accomplished inRelease raw,Western Franceor even France Info.

– A reach of over 77 million views in earned media thanks to press coverage.

– The video produced by Brut and posted on Instagram generated 70,000 views compared to a video by Jean-Luc Mélenchon that was released just before and had 30,000 views.

We had 3 times more views of our video than all the others on the Brut platform. »

“Narcotics Anonymous is thrilled,”they have never had so much pressure since their creation in France“.

Unlike many associations that communicate about the number of their members, NA only knows the number of meetings that take place every day in France. It’s part of their rule, the number of members is not counted“, Explain Emilie Cabanie.

The keys to success

– Timing
The planets are alignedlooking forward again Emmanuel Quéré.The fashionable tech profession, the problem of exploding addiction and the fact that meetings were always kept at a distance. These three combined dynamics made the project possible.»

The whole operation was based on this momenthe still remembers:we had an hour not to miss each other, to make sure everything worked technically, that everyone was in good shape and not sick, that the testimonies were at least interesting, because if we “lured” with fashionable technology, we had to “catch up with emotions” the invited people anyway. We did not control at all what was being said, I had to pinch myself so much, everything worked. When the sauce takes like that, when we help people and they are satisfied, we are happy to do our job.»

– A relationship of trust
An agency / “advertiser” relationship like this is quite rare“, highlighted Emmanuel Quéré.

Emilie Cabanie says to himself “surprise»That everyone has been involved. “They had certainly given their consent in advance to participate in the experiment, but everyone really agreed and trusted that we would talk about them to the journalists. I did not expect what they said during the meeting and its result, it was so perfect and really carried the experience.»

– The trend at the moment
Not a day goes by without a generalist or specialized media talking about metavers. Its use inevitably played a role in the media coverage of the operation. It was even “key” to Emilie Cabanie : “We were able to use a new technology wisely, and which responded perfectly to the association’s problem. »

The meta-verse allowed ticking in all fields despite the association’s specific rulesconfirm Emmanuel Quéré :we were able to capture a meeting (therefore respect the anonymity of the members) and put NA forward in the media room. For the first time, we were able to get in original form a true rendering of a meeting. (…) Every person reached by the video is really touched by this message, there is nothing superficial though the form may seem like it. The impact of the message on the goal is important.(…)We are also working on the production of assets that will serve as communication objects for the association.»

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