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Neknominate: Frenchman starts 'smarter' challenge

Published: 18 Feb 2014 13:43 GMT+01:00

After 23-year-old Julien Voinson was given 24 hours to film himself downing an alcoholic beverage as part of the Neknomination drinking craze that has swept social media, the young Frenchman decided against following the trend. 

Voinson, from the city of Bordeaux in south western France, came up with a much healthier and certainly more responsible challenge that has thrown him into the media spotlight and helped boost a new craze.

Instead of downing a bottle of gin or vodka in one go, Voinson decided to film himself carrying out a "smarter" challenge which for him was to hand out food and drink to homeless people in his city.

Then as with the rules of Neknominate he challenged three of his friends to film themselves doing something “intelligent and useful” and in doing so created  "Smart-nomination".

His video clip (SEE BELOW) has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube and he has been inundated with messages of support from around the world.

“It’s absolutely crazy,” Voinson wrote on his Facebook page this week.

“Over 300 hundred thousand views on YouTube. Messages sent from Britain, Belgium, Spain, Martinique and the four corners of France, my inbox has been flooded with by and large positive messages.”

At the latest count that had risen to over 750,000 hits.

Explaining his motivation for breaking the boozy craze that continues to sweep the world, Voinson told BFM TV: “My little brother is on Facebook, it’s out of the question that he could see his little brother drink alcohol. You need to be original and make a useful video.”

As part of meeting the challenge of “Smart nomination” participants have filmed themselves giving blood or dropping clothes or a cheque in to a charity.

Scores of people have taken part in the challenge since Voinson made his first video.

Voinson hopes his smart idea will take off and help bring an end to the original boozy version of the game which is so far believed to have claimed five lives worldwide.

“Neknomination is not a good example for the younger generation,” he said. 

However Voinson can't lay claim it seems to being the first to turn Neknomination into something more positive. That title is believed to belong to a South African named Brent Lindeque, who filmed himself handing food out to homeless people in his home country at the end of January. 

You can watch his video below.

The phenomenon Nek Nominate, like the planking craze before it, appears to have originated in Australia. Authorities in Britain this week warned that drinkers daring their friends to take the challenge could face charges if things go horribly wrong.

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Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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