the keys to the success of the 1st virtual meeting of Narcotics Anonymous

When the virtual helps the real.

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

All forms of addiction have worsened under the effect of the health crisis, as revealed by a survey conducted by the BVA institute for the Association Addictions France in April 2021: more than a third of users then declared that they had increased their consumption in the last twelve months. Be it tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, but also drugs (including psychotropics). How can we help these people at a time when health and social distancing measures prevent self-help organizations from coming together and videoconferencing meetings are showing their limits?

This is the challenge that the association had to take up Narcotics Anonymous and to which the Socialyse agency (the content marketing agency of the Havas media division) responded with an unprecedented initiative: the first meeting organized in the metaverse. Emilia Cabaniehead of the flu e Emmanuel QueréSocialyse Paris senior strategic planner, reflects on this experience from another world.

The summary

Last September Socialyse Paris came into contact with the Narcotics Anonymous association through an acquaintance ofEmilia 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 addictions. ” This person, knowing my work and the agency I worked for, came to meet me to move forward and support her on this issue. “, remember.

Particularity of the association (anywhere in the world) and no less important: it can speak, but does not have the right to “proselytize” or “recruit” (through forums for example in the press) and must – obviously – respect the anonymity of its members. Narcotics Anonymous is organized horizontally in such a way that there is no president or spokesperson. At the moment, the agency has no solutions to offer. “If on the other hand Narcotics Anonymous is an association well known and used by public authorities, justice and the health system, in France, it is not a reflex when it comes to treating addictions. Rather, people are referred to doctors who treat them with psychoanalysis or drugs when they are not sent to a detox center“, keep on Emilia Cabanie.

Furthermore, contrary to what many might think, NA is notRequiem for a dream the association treats all types of drugs: the first causes are drugs, alcohol or cannabis“, accurate Emanuele Queré, senior strategic planner at Socialyse Paris.

When the association and the agency meet, the NA have been conducting all meetings on Zoom for two years: ” They have lost this aspect of human presence, brotherhood and warmth behind the screenstill remembers Emmanuel Queré. Likewise, new members who pushed a door to return faced this additional obstacle of having to find an online match, undress without the possibility of coming to see.r ‘”. The association, in fact, also allows us to welcome” observers “, people who come to see how a meeting takes place, but also screenwriters and directors who wish to give realism to their work.

The idea

It was through a Facebook invitation last November that the Socialyse Paris duo saw the solution appear. Just renamed Meta, the group invites some partners to offer their customers a preview of the internal metaverse. Emmanuel Quéré sees him as the perfect spotlight for Narcotics Anonymous: ” It was by removing our VR headsets after our presentation that we thought this process would be interesting in positioning the association in the media space. “. Indeed, what’s better than the trend of the moment to put the spotlight on it? The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in the metaverse is born. At least an idea of ​​his.” Two slidessubsequently, the concept is proposed to the customer. WhileEmmanuel Queré he is convinced of it make a space oven “, the head of the association takes out his VR helmet in full presentation. Valid.

Now we have to give life to this meeting, adapt it to the proposed concept: they must last 40 minutes and discuss all the issues addressed during a classic meeting by members – old and new – with heterogeneous backgrounds and testimonies. The members who agreed to take part in the experiment were then trained individually and anonymously by the Virtual reality academy, service provider on the operation. The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous may take place.

How was the environment in which the virtual reality meeting took place and designed? In collaboration with VR Académie, Socialyse designed a bespoke world from different existing worlds with the association’s representative. No beach, as previously imagined from Emmanuel Querébut a more “realistic” environment, not too bling-bling, with a round table around which members could meet and discuss.


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

– At the end of the meeting, all resources were retrieved, a video was edited during the process to be sent to an expanded list of generalist media and BtoB, and textual statements were included in the press expressing their feelings on the spot by the publication members .

From the confession ofEmilia Cabanie, who has already attended a physics meeting and gathered the warm reactions of the members, this meeting had everything of an IRL meeting, despite the first technological brakes. And some additional benefits too: the VR headset allows for real immersion, listening and concentration that doesn’t offer a meeting on Zoom where the outside environment can play the disruptive agents (phone, person (s) we live with, etc.).

This will not replace a physical encounter, but it does provide an additional means of breaking the glass ceiling of anonymity, of the possible reluctance of the first encounter.appreciated Emilia Cabanie. There is a feeling of maximum concentration as we find ourselves immersed in a universe that we only get out of by removing our VR headset.

All the members were seduced and had the impression of living a real meetingConfirm Emmanuel Queré. This is what we expect from the metaverse, breaking 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 by the reactions of the members. As if they were giving elements of language that in my wildest dreams I would have given them.

The results

– Significant press coverage: “We have invited the media in the hope that they will advertise the association, which it cannot do alone. to remember Emmanuel Queré.The goal was to reach a large audience, doctors, politicians, people who could redirect to NA. “Mission accomplished inPublication Raw,Western Franceor even France Info.

– A reach exceeding 77 million media views earned through press coverage.

– The video produced by Brut and broadcast on Instagram generated 70,000 views against a video by Jean-Luc Mélenchon published shortly before and posted 30,000 views.

We had 3 times more views on our video than everyone else on the Brut platform. ”

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

Contrary to many associations that communicate the number of their members, the AN only knows the number of meetings that take place every day in France. As part of their rule, the number of members is not counted“, To explain Emilia Cabanie.

The keys to success

– Times
The planets have alignedrejoicing again Emmanuel Queré.The trendy tech topic, the problem of exploding addictions 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 momentstill remembers:we had an hour not to lose each other, to make sure everything was working technically, that everyone was fit and not sick, that the testimonials were at least interesting, because if we were “luring” each other with trendy technology , however, we would have had to “gather by emotion” the people invited. We didn’t control what was said at all, I had to pinch myself so much everything worked. When the sauce takes like this, 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 Queré.

Emilia Cabanie he says to himself “surpriseWhich all have joined. “Surely they had given their consent in advance to participate in the experiment, but everyone was really unanimous and trusted us to tell reporters about it. I was not expecting what they said during the meeting and its result, it was so perfect and it really brought the experience.

– The trend of the moment
Not a day goes by without a generalist or specialist media talking about the metaverse. Its use inevitably played a role in the media coverage of the operation. It was also “key” to Emilia Cabanie : “We were able to use wisely a new technology that perfectly responded to the problem of association. “

The metaverse allowed all the boxes to be ticked despite the association’s specific rulesConfirm Emmanuel Queré :we were able to capture a meeting (thus respect the anonymity of the members) and carry the AN forward in the media space. For the first time we were able to obtain, in an original form, the real rendering of an encounter. (…) Every person reached by the video is really moved by this message, there is nothing superficial even if the form may seem so. The impact of the message on the target is important.(…)We are also working on the production of assets that will serve as communication objects for the association.

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