An attractive young woman is standing alone on a Madrid street corner, holding a beer bottle in one hand and looking clearly inebriated.
She is really an actress playing the role of a drunken female to see how people react to such a situation when they are unaware that they are being captured on camera.
The video, sponsored by a Madrid detox center, has been viewed approximately one million times since it went up on YouTube on October 27.
The social experiment is the brainchild of Centro Europeo Neurosalus, an addiction-treatment center headed by the media-savvy Dr. José Miguel Gaona, known to television fans for his appearances on Cuarto Milenio. It was also sponsored by Doctortest, a maker of home drug-testing kits.
“What you see is what really happened,” Joan Miquel Martínez, the video director, told Verne. “We didn’t shoot more cases because we didn’t have to: nobody tried to help her, and several men tried to get her to drink more and take her somewhere else.”
“What we really wanted to show is that when someone is under the effects of drugs, they believe themselves to be the most attractive, the tallest, the funnest person around. They lose control over their own lives, they become vulnerable,” explains Martínez, who directed the video for the agency Unusual Communication.
Yet many of the comments under the video – which has been picked up on by English-language media – focus more on the fact that it shows men trying to take advantage of a woman, rather on the effects of alcohol on humans.
At the end of the recording, Dr Gaona asserts that “we deleted the scenes depicting offensive situations, rude comments, groping...”
The video, it also emerges, is just the first in a series.
“We are working on more social experiments – not just on the issue of drugs, but to analyze several aspects of human behavior,” says Martínez.
Many videos presented as “fake social experiments” (fake in the sense that they do not meet the requirements of a true scientific experiment) have gone viral in recent years. A well-known example is one of a woman walking by herself in New York for 10 hours, which has been viewed over 41 million times.
In the recording, Gaona makes reference to another video that went viral in 2014, in which a young woman pretended to be drunk on the streets of Los Angeles. In the end, however, it turned out that the men seen hitting on her in the video were also actors. “We did get an idea from that but that was because we were looking for which other videos had been made based on drinking,” explains the director of the video. “We ruled out doing it the same way – the actress in our video has a passive attitude.”
English version by Susana Urra.