By now you’ve probably heard about the “Stoner Sloth” video campaign being carried out by the government of New South Wales.
In the series of commercials, sloths stand in for apparently stoned teenagers, and are utterly incapable of doing simple things like passing the salt at dinner or carrying on a conversation at a party.
Using the slogan “You’re worse on weed,” the New South Wales government was apparently hoping the commercials would make young people afraid of what cannabis would do to them, and therefore be less likely to use marijuana.
Here’s a compilation of the ads:
Instead of discouraging teenagers from smoking pot, the ads have actually gone viral because they’re so damn funny. And it seems that the people loving the videos the most are potheads themselves!
Towleroad summarized the situation this way:
“The sloth is actually lovable in a non-verbal, Wookie-like, groaning kind of way and the internet, instead of seeing the government’s message, is taking the sloth’s side and mocking how ridiculous the ads are.”
“Many are saying that they actually have the effect of encouraging kids to smoke up.”
ABC News also published a list of Twitter responses to the ads, most of which celebrate how hilariously absurd they are.
Apparently, people hoping that the ads would be an effective way of discouraging young people from getting high are not happy with the attention the commercials have received so far.
So much so in fact that Australia’s National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) has asked the government to stop associating its name with the ad campaign.
“The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and NSW Health launched the campaign which a spokesperson said was created by an external advertising agency and ‘informed by research conducted by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre,'” said an article published by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Jan Copeland, the director of the NCPIC, has now asked that the government stop saying that.
“They have used our name to cover this campaign,” Copeland told the newspaper. “We are going to ask them to print a retraction that it is based on work that we did.”
“Using this kind of character is likely to have an effect other than those that were intended,” Copeland said. “Associating a sloth with people being intoxicated may convey a positive appeal to people being intoxicated rather than the intended negative message.”
You’ve got to love it when efforts to demonize marijuana end up making it look better than ever.
(Photo Credit: mashable.com)