When advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi launched its Stoner Sloth campaign for the NSW government, it wasn’t probably expecting the ads to go viral on social media. Neither did they expect it to be widely mocked, but mockery is what the entire campaign seems to be receiving lately.
Stoner Sloth meant to discourage marijuana use among kids
The campaign, which is meant to discourage children from giving marijuana a try, features an actor dressed up as a sloth placed in situations like failing in class or messing up at the family dinner table, and making sad, grunting sounds and moving slowly like, well, a sloth because of the effects of marijuana. The campaign bears the tagline “You’re worse on weed”, but if the ridicule it’s currently receiving from social media users is any indication, it appears the ad agency and the NSW government that commissioned it are even worse off with the ad.
Stoner Sloth could end up a hero for children
In fairness to the people behind the Stoner Sloth campaign, the approach is quite understandable, given that it is actually geared towards younger people, and the ads have tested well before its target audience. The problem is adults watch it too, and they’re the ones making all the fuss about how “juvenile” the campaign is. Making it worse is the decision of the creators to depict a creature that is, at the very least, lovable to many people, including the young ones. What many fear is that Stoner Sloth may well end up a hero to many kids, and fail to steer them away from marijuana.
The effects of marijuana are very real, and both Saatchi & Saatchi and the NSW government are well-meaning. Honestly, however, they could have used another approach, something that won’t backfire the way that it’s doing right now. Then again, the $500,000 Stoner Sloth campaign has attracted a lot of attention—both positive and mostly negative—which is definitely a success in the advertising giant’s book by any means. After all, no publicity is bad publicity, or so the old cliché goes.
Watch the video below and judge the Stoner Sloth campaign for yourself.