Remember Disaster Girl? A New Ad Campaign Digs Deeper Into the Mysterious Meme

And offers the happy ending Serial never gave you

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Disaster Girl is one of the most popular memes online. It’s over 13 years old, and hails from a weird picture of a girl smiling devilishly while a home burns in the background. Since then, her creepy grin has been superimposed onto every imaginable image of human calamity.

(Her own dad uploaded the picture, titled “Firestarter,” which probably hasn’t helped matters since.)

But who is Disaster Girl? Did she really start that fire? Is she an agent of Satan?

BETC Paris takes the mystery on in new work for Polar+, a brand-new Canal+ TV channel dedicated exclusively to thrillers. In a documentary-style video, the network’s bombastic sky-falling narrator seizes upon the original image, then gumshoes it in ways that will make your inner Redditor itchy to join in.

While the work is clearly fictional, and the connections completely bonkers, it captures what’s so compelling about a good thriller: Maybe the answers were there all along, waiting for an observant person to put the pieces together, producing a fresh new lead where some just saw a fireman.

And while it’s clearly also fictional—seriously, take the lawyers off speed-dial—it’s satisfying to see the mystery of Disaster Girl solved. Sort of.

For more on the real story of Disaster Girl, go here.

Web Content – Meme Investigation
Brand: Polar+
Brand Management: Jean-Marc Juramie, Mathilde Villette ,Cassandre Richard, Céline Pontygayot
Agency: BETC
Agency Management: Guillaume Espinet, Elsa Magadoux, Mathilde Lançon, Marie Chapuis
Executive Creative Director: Stéphane Xiberras
Creative Directors: Benjamin Le Breton, Arnaud Assouline
Art Director: Julien Vergne
Copywriter: Alexandre Girod
Ad Assistant: Marie Glotin
Head of Entertainment: Lennie Stern
Head of Activation: Julien Leveque
Head of Strategy: Guillaume Martin
Creative Producer: Victoria Vingtdeux
Production Company: Boogie Night
Sound Production: Studio 31DB
Director: Justine Bo
Head of Media: Romain Merielle, Juliette Dupuis

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@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.