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Saatchis Jo’burg creates fictional Facebook character to highlight drug abuse

Saatchi & Saatchi Johannesburg has created a fake Facebook account detailing the effects of drug abuse, with the aim of highlighting the dangers of narcotics. Designed to raise awareness of the Chabad Addiction Rehabilitation Centre (CARE) in Johannesburg, a fictional Facebooker called Vivienne Stevenson catalogued the debilitating effects of drugs through photographs, video footage and status updates. CARE specialises in treating those with substance abuse and gambling problems.

CARE is backed by the local Jewish community. “The idea of our centre is to provide a more Jewish oriented treatment for overcoming addictions,” it says.

Saatchis created a profile for Vivienne Stevenson with a real-time documentary of her life created through video posts and commentary from fictional characters and Facebook friends. During a three-month report on her life, more than 500 Facebook friends saw her introduction to drugs on a modelling shoot, and the consequent downward spiral into addiction. Her ‘friends’ began to post messages of concern for her health. Vivienne received more than 700 private messages from worried friends during the experiment, before the agency revealed that it was a publicity stunt.

All which is very good for Saatchis and CARE and maybe a bit worrying for Facebook.

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