the keys to the success of Narcotics Anonymous’ first virtual meeting

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 customs, our psyche, from our dreams to our memory, but also our mental health. Isolation, fear, anxiety or boredom have further weakened the already vulnerable people.

All forms of addiction have been exacerbated under the effect of the health crisis, as shown by a survey conducted by the BVA Institute for the Association Addictions France in April 2021: more than a third of users stated that they had increased their consumption in the past twelve months. Whether it concerns tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, but also drugs (including psychotropic substances). How can we help these people at a time when health and social distancing measures prevent self-help organizations from meeting and video conference meetings are showing their limits?

This is the challenge the association had to take on Narcotics Anonymous and to which agency Socialyse (the content marketing agency of the media division of Havas) responded with an unprecedented initiative: the first meeting organized in the metaverse. Emilie Cabaniehead of Influence, and Emmanuel Queresenior strategic planner at Socialyse Paris, reflecting on this experience from another world.

the short one

Last September Socialyse Paris came through an acquaintance of . in contact with the Narcotics Anonymous associationEmilie Cabanie be part of the organization’s professionals. The latter have a problem: their method is proven and effective, but is not identified in the public landscape as one of the solutions to end addictions. ” This person, who knew my job and the agency I worked for, came to meet me to move forward and support them in this matter. ‘ she recalls.

Special feature of the association (all over the world) and last but not least: it can speak, but has no right to “convert” to “recruit” (via forums in the press for example) and must – of course – respect the anonymity of its members. Narcotics Anonymous is organized so horizontally that there is no chairman or spokesperson. At the moment, the agency has no solution to offer. “If Across the Channel Narcotics Anonymous is a well-known association and used by the public authorities, the legal system and the health system, in France, it is not a reflex when it comes to treating addictions. People would rather be sent to doctors who treat them with psychoanalysis or drugs if they are not sent to a rehab center“, continues Emilie Cabanie.

Also, contrary to popular belief, NA is notRequiem for a dream the association treats all types of drugs: the first causes are drugs, alcohol or cannabis“, precisely Emmanuel Quere, senior strategic planner at Socialyse Paris.

By the time the association and the agency meet, the NAs have been conducting all meetings on Zoom for two years: ” They lost this aspect of human presence, brotherhood and warmth behind the screenremind again Emmanuel Quere. Similarly, new members pushing a door to return had this added obstacle of having to find an online meeting, of stripping without the option to ‘come and watch’r'”. After all, 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 imbue their work with realism.

The idea

Through an invitation from Facebook last November, the duo Socialyse Paris saw the solution appear. Just rebranded as Meta, the group invites some partners to give their customers a taste of the internal metaverse. Emmanuel Quéré sees it as the perfect spotlight for Narcotics Anonymous: “ It was by taking off our VR headsets after our presentation that we thought this process would be interesting to put the association in the media space. Indeed, what could be better than THE trend of the moment to shine the spotlight on it? The first encounter of Narcotics Anonymous in the metaverse was born. At least his idea.” Two slideslater the concept is presented to the client. WhileEmmanuel Quere is convinced of make a space oven “, the head of the association grabs 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 last 40 minutes and discuss all the themes discussed during a classic meeting by members – new and old – with heterogeneous backgrounds and testimonials. The members who agreed to participate in the experiment were then individually and anonymously trained by the VR Academy, service provider on the operation. The first Narcotics Anonymous meeting 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, together with the representative of the association, designed a custom world from different existing worlds. No beach, as first thought by Emmanuel Querebut a more “realistic” environment, not too bling bling, with a round table around which the 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 places is limited. Eight media have been contacted. All responded present, including the Advertisement.

– At the end of the meeting, all assets were recovered, a video was edited to be sent to an extensive list of generalist and BtoB media, and verbatim statements from members were recorded on the spot in the press release.

From the confession ofEmilie Cabanie, which has already attended a physics meeting and gathered the hot reactions of the members, this meeting was all about an IRL meeting, despite the initial technological brakes. And even some extra benefits: the VR headset provides a real immersion, listening and concentration that a meeting on Zoom does not offer where the external environment can play the disruptive factors (telephone, person(s) we live with, etc. ).

This will not replace a physical encounter, but provides an additional means of breaking the glass ceiling of anonymity, of the possible reticence of the first encounter.appreciated Emilie Cabanie. There is a sense of ultimate concentration as we are immersed in a universe from which we only leave by taking off our VR headset.»

All members were seduced and had the impression of experiencing a real meetingto confirm Emmanuel Quere. That is what we expect from the metaverse, breaking through the virtual glass ceiling, feeling emotion, ‘contact’. At the end of the meeting someone said, “It’s really magical”. I was moved by this meeting and amazed at the reactions of the members. As if they gave language elements that I would have given them in my wildest dreams. »

The results

– Significant press coverage: “We have invited the media in the hope that they will advertise the association, which they cannot do themselves. to remind Emmanuel Quere.The goal was to reach a wide audience, doctors, politicians, people who could refer to NA. »Mission accomplished inRelease Raw,West Franceor even France Info.

– Reach of more than 77 million views in earned media thanks to press coverage.

– The video produced by Brut and broadcast on Instagram generated 70k views versus a video by Jean-Luc Mélenchon that was released just before and posted 30k views.

We had 3x more views on our video than any other on the Brut platform. »

– Narcotics Anonymous is excited,”they have never had so much press since their inception in France“.

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

The keys to success

– Timing
The planets are alignedhappy again Emmanuel Quere.The fashionable tech topic, the problem of exploding addictions and the fact that meetings were always kept at a distance back then. 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 was working technically, that everyone was in good shape and not sick, that the testimonials were at least interesting because when we were “bossing” with fashionable technology “, we had invited the people to “pick up by emotion”. We had absolutely no control over what was being told, I had to squeeze myself so hard that everything worked. If the sauce is successful, if we help people and they are satisfied, then we do our job with great pleasure.»

– A relationship of trust
A relationship between agency and ‘advertiser’ like this is quite rare“, marked Emmanuel Quere.

Emilie Cabanie says to himself “surprise» that everyone participated. “They certainly had given their consent in advance to participate in the experiment, but they were all really unanimous and trusted that we would talk about it with the journalists. I didn’t expect what they said during the meeting and the outcome of it, it was so perfect and really carried the experience.»

– The trend of the moment
Not a day goes by without a generalist or specialist media talking about metaverse. Its use inevitably played a role in media coverage of the operation. It was even “key” for Emilie Cabanie : “We were able to handle a new technology cleverly and which perfectly answered the problem of the association. »

The metaverse was allowed to tick all the boxes despite the specific rules for the associationto confirm Emmanuel Quere :we were able to record a meeting (so respect the anonymity of the members) and put the NA forward in the media room. For the first time, in original form, we were able to obtain a real representation of a meeting. (…) Every person reached by the video is really touched by this message, there is nothing superficial, even if the form seems that way. The impact of the message on the target group is important.(…)We are also working on the production of assets that will serve as communication objects for the association.»

Leave a Comment