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McCann Israel breaks Facebook rules for ‘drugs set your timeline’ campaign

The Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) launched a Facebook campaign, ‘Drugs Set Your Timeline’ on January 4 to increase awareness of the damages of prolonged drug use. In the first social campaign to harness Facebook Timeline as a medium.

McCann Digital Israel created a fictional user, Adam Barak, and used a ‘split page’ timeline, modelled on the updated Facebook layout, displaying Adam’s life under the influence of drugs in one column (a year with) and the same Adam drug-free in the other column (a year without).

The Facebook feed shows drug-using Adam has a computer surrounded by drug paraphernalia, being chucked out by his girlfriend, sitting dejectedly on the street, and staring hopelessly at his ravaged face in a cracked mirror. In stark contrast drug-free Adam posts a photo of a clean computer desk complete with desktop photo of a girl kissing his cheek and a post-it saying ‘I Love You’. Adam is really Daniel Barak, the copywriter of the campaign (a touch compressed here, our first whole Facebook page).

This breaches Facebook’s own rules about using fake profiles but was evidently a risk McCann was prepared to take. McCann Israel boss Eldad Weinberger says: “Being the first campaign to use Facebook’s timeline in a creative way led the campaign to be highly viral with worldwide media coverage and over a million ‘like’ hits in less than one week.”

The offending campaign, from Facebook’s point of view anyway, was taken down after eight days. It was devised by creative director Nir Refuah with Daniel Barak and art director Nir Hersztadt. Photography was by Gooli Cohen.

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