Quebec has recently released a shockingly bizarre awareness campaign aimed at the province’s youngest audiences. The main goal of the campaign is to warn young Quebecers about weed’s possible risks and side effects, through the use of strange-looking, eye-catching imagery.
The campaign was first released earlier this week in French, on the official site for the provincial government’s cannabis agency, and it soon raised a great deal of online surprise and mockery, for its depiction of young people portraying bizarre body alterations like a super large neck, extremely long eyelashes or a set of rabbit-like years growing from the top of their heads.
Trying for the Shock Factor
Quebecers can soon expect a bombardment from this publicly-funded campaign, that is hoping to use its CAN$1.5 million ($1.1 million) budget to promote the message across TV, movie theaters, radio and digital, in both French and English.
The primary focus will be aimed at increasing awareness towards four possible risks of cannabis consumption in youngsters: growing dependent on cannabis; the potential risk to the developing brain; the risks associated with mental health; and the risks involved when mixing cannabis with other substances.
The campaign appears to surround a single resource, where a ridiculous body alteration is first presented, followed by the copy: “There’s no way cannabis can do this. But (it can have other risks).”
Aside from those four image ads, the two video commercials at the top of this article have already been released, following the same corky, humorous tone. The campaign’s strategy is to gain the attention of young audiences by appealing to humor as the main resource. Though this kind of unorthodox approach has been criticized for taking the gravity off of a serious issue, the results of the campaign have yet to be measured, as we’re only at the first week of its release.
Although according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the concept behind the campaign started developing a few months ago, its objectives became confirmed this week, when Quebec’s Poison Control Center announced that the number of cannabis poisoning cases tripled since cannabis became legal on past October.
Not Quebec’s First Attempt Against Cannabis
The province, currently led by the right-winged ‘Coalition Avenir Québec’ party, made this campaign its newest addition to a list of anti-cannabis efforts that started as soon as legalization took place across the country.
François Legault, the province’s recently elected new leader, has already taken action against the country’s decision to legalize pot by saying no to ‘pot cafes’, banning the use of the cannabis leaf image in retail items, mounting a special police squad to finish off the remanent black market, and presenting a bill to increase the legal age restriction from 18 to 21.
Although bizarre, the trend to use hallucinogenic imagery to discuss weed dangers seems to be on the rise in Canada. Earlier this year, the Northwest Territories released a trippy campaign that used augmented reality posters and magazine ads to convey a similar message to the younger generations.