Narcotiques Anonymes: Overcoming Stigma and Connecting Lives in the Metaverse


Campaign Summary

Narcotiques Anonymes (NA) launched the NAverse campaign to raise awareness of its support groups in France and overcome the psychological barrier of shame that prevents addicts from seeking help. Utilizing the metaverse, the brand created the first NA meeting in a virtual environment, providing a safe and anonymous space for individuals to connect and receive support. Through a concerted PR strategy, media coverage reached millions of people, sparking a social debate about substance abuse and increasing traffic to the NA website by 158 percent. The campaign's success demonstrated the innovative use of the metaverse and its potential to address real-world challenges in healthcare and support services.



Narcotiques Anonymes (NA) is a global network of support groups that grew out of the Alcoholics Anonymous model and has been hosting meetings dedicated to helping drug-addicted individuals overcome addiction for nearly 50 years. The brand focuses on speech, presence, support, and a sense of belonging to a close-knit community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the doors to NA meetings closed. Although the brand transitioned existing members to virtual support groups, it became more difficult for new or potential members to take the first step. Simultaneously, addiction to drugs, alcohol, and medication increased as new health measures became part of daily life. This emphasized the importance and necessity of NA's work. While NA enjoys recognition and respect in English-speaking countries, its presence in France went unnoticed, as addicts in the country typically received treatment through substitution drugs and rehab centers. The objectives were to raise awareness of NA among the French population, spark a social debate about substance abuse, and help individuals with addiction access Narcotiques Anonymous services.

Target Audience:

To achieve mass awareness of NA in France, the target audience included not only drug addicts but also decision-makers in their treatment process, such as politicians, the medical community, and the French society at large.

Creative Strategy:

The primary challenge was the psychological barrier of shame that prevented addicts from attending NA meetings, even when the physical meetings resumed post-pandemic. Addicts often avoided NA meetings due to the fear of being recognized or seen as addicts.

Recognizing the topical issue of the metaverse, the brand identified the virtual world as an opportunity to break the psychological barrier of shame and bring addicts closer to meetings without exposing them as harshly as in the real world. With the metaverse being a hot topic, the brand decided to create the first NA meeting in the metaverse. This strategy aimed to create a connection with two different audiences through one activation. A concerted PR strategy was implemented, reaching the most important media outlets in France through various channels, including television, radio, internet, newspapers, and magazines. The brand also leveraged NA's social media handles to amplify the initiative.


This was the first year that NA followed this strategy. The post-pandemic context was new and unprecedented, as was the integration of the metaverse into people's lives.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The campaign leveraged the metaverse's anonymity and security to break the barrier of shame experienced in face-to-face meetings. This allowed meeting participants to interact through avatars, providing a safe and comfortable environment.

Mobile Execution:

The brand started by building the architectural structure and interiors in the metaverse, creating a realistic and minimalistic environment. A round table was included for participants to face each other. The brand collaborated with a VR specialist from France to develop the environment in less than two weeks.

Next, the brand selected eight NA members who had been attending regular face-to-face meetings and provided coaching on avatar creation. They also practiced with Oculus devices to ensure their comfort with the experience.

Eight journalists from influential media outlets were invited to the virtual meeting. Their participation aimed to generate widespread coverage and initiate conversations about addiction among different social groups, including drug addicts, their families and friends, public authorities, and members of the medical field.

After the meeting, a "best of" video was created for the journalists, helping them remember the experience. Additionally, a press release and video case explaining the initiative were shared with other media outlets in France that were unable to participate in the virtual meeting.

Content for social media was also created and shared through NA's owned channels.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Before the campaign, NA was relatively unknown in France, unlike in other countries where many addicts seek help from NA. In contrast, addicts in France often opt for alternative treatments and are unaware of NA as a possible solution.

The campaign exceeded expectations, reaching 81 million people and generating extensive national and international media coverage. It resulted in a 158 percent increase in traffic on Narcotiques Anonymous' French website and garnered 350,000 earned media impressions.

All participating members subsequently joined physical meetings, ensuring the continuation of meaningful interactions. Furthermore, an upcoming NAverse meeting is planned in Canada.

NAverse demonstrated an innovative use of the metaverse, being the first NA meeting held in this virtual environment. The campaign had a significant impact on society, providing a real solution to a pressing problem for individuals with both physical and mental health issues. It showcased the potential of the metaverse for various industries and issues, facilitating communication during difficult times, such as addiction, cancer, violence, or loss of loved ones.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Spatial Technology, XR Technology — (AR/VR/MR) | Awards: X Global Bronze Winner, X Global Gold Winner