Éduc’alcool has developped a website in French called Pocheville.ca designed to make young people more aware of the effects of alcohol abuse. The site uses humour and clever interactive technology to bring home its message.
Pocheville (basically, Loserville) is a new town where people haven’t quite recovered from partying and excessive drinking. Kids can enter the town and join a community where they’ll learn important lessons through some very entertaining experiences. Once you register, you choose your parents, who give birth to your avatar. The avatar then has to discover various pieces of information and make all kinds of decisions, many of which have to do with alcohol abuse.
Children start learning about alcohol and drinking when they are surprisingly young, and it’s important to reach pre-teens and teens before they have their first drink. Our goal is to delay that moment as long as possible and try to convince kids to drink moderately, if and when they start. The medium we’re using to convey this message is the one young people love best.
In Pocheville, kids make some interesting discoveries (they meet characters who have abused alcohol), they learn important things (the impact of advertising on drinking) and they are encouraged to behave responsibly (they have to clean up their rooms, take care of others, etc.). They learn that only time will metabolize alcohol, and that people who are drunk – with whom they must engage and in relation to whom they have to make decisions – are particularly useless.
Kids who make good decisions (keep their rooms tidy, stop serving alcohol) earn points; those who make bad choices lose them. Accumulating points can win you prizes, including iPods.
Once they’ve completed the first stage of the game, players can listen to two pastiche songs performed by none other than Ralph, a surprisingly talented toilet bowl used by Éduc’alcool to deliver its messages. The two songs – one a country tune, the other in the style of Les Classels – feature lyrics with an unmistakable message: alcohol abuse is disastrous and its consequences are as unpleasant as they come. Both songs can be downloaded and shared with friends. Éduc’alcool hopes that the songs will get played at parties, and that young people will come to look down on excessive drinking with humour and conviction.
The goal is to inform and educate people young and old, and make them realize that moderation is always in good taste.