“Stoner Sloth” is back in the news.
Australian citizens have expressed frustration after sources revealed just how much time, money, and resources the government of New South Wales spent to produce the series of “stoner sloth” anti-marijuana commercials.
Each ad depicted a giant Chewbacca-looking sloth character repeatedly failing at a number of everyday activities: completing schoolwork, eating dinner with the family, socializing with friends at a party.
After showing the sloth’s inability to complete these basic tasks, the ads displayed the campaign’s slogan, “You’re worse on weed,” and its social media tag: “#stonersloth.”
The videos quickly went viral, building a huge following of fans around the world who found the entire campaign—and especially its “stoner sloth” character—both entertaining and comedic.
Ironically, the sloth became particularly popular among regular cannabis users.
The government of New South Wales immediately came under fire for the campaign, as many people said it was an ineffective way to communicate the intended message.
And now, a new round of criticism has emerged.
Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, a member of the Greens New South Wales political party, recently obtained detailed government spending reports after filing a Government Information (Public Access) petition.
The reports reveal that the government of New South Wales spent $351,790 to create the ads. Of that money, $115,000 was spent on research, evaluation, and development, and more than $136,000 was spent on actually producing the ads.
“Looking at the $60,000 plus spent on market research alone, you’d think they would have had a better idea about what actually might have connected with people,” Faruqi told reporters.
“Instead, the Baird government became the laughing stock of the world as the now infamous sloth made international headlines for all the wrong reasons.”
In addition to the money spent on things like research, development, and production, the project also took up 38 days’ worth of full-time labor on the part of public servants.
Many people living in New South Wales have expressed frustration over having to foot the bill for the “stoner sloth” project.
“It is baffling and frankly quite depressing that the NSW government wasted this much public money and hundreds of hours of public service time on such a poorly conceived idea,” Faruqi said.
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