• France's news in English

Neknominate: Frenchman starts 'smarter' challenge

Ben McPartland · 18 Feb 2014, 13:43

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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. 

Story continues below…

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.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Homeless man dines at top tables in France, then runs off
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Could France do more to ease the worries of 'Brexpats'?
Photo: AFP

Paris is rolling out the red tape for British firms, so why not British citizens in France?

Brexit: Brits in France could face 'cataclysmic' impact
Photo: AFP

Can't France make it easier for Britons to get French nationality?

In their own words: Why French police are in revolt
"Solidarity with our colleagues". Police protesting near Paris. Photo: AFP

Police have staged protests for three nights in a row across France. Here's why they say they're fed up.

France leaning right six months before election
Candidates for the right-wing Les Republicains Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AFP

... and the left has been left in suspended animation.

Disgruntled French police stage protests for third night
Photo: AFP

The French government is struggling to deal with a revolt among the country's police force.

Scarlett Johansson to run Paris gourmet popcorn shop
Photo: AFP

She'll even be serving customers apparently.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available