The Australian government recently released a series of anti-marijuana public service advertisements that are failing to frighten people away from using cannabis. The advertisements, which feature a Stoner Sloth who has been incapacitated by the side-effects of cannabis, have been widely mocked as absurd and accidentally hilarious.
The ads appear to be aimed at young teenagers, as they prey on stereotypical adolescent fears. Poor Delilah the Stoner Sloth hasn’t written a single word on a test, sloth Jason can’t pass the salt to his disparaging mother and silly Dave can’t respond to his friend’s question at a party — he only mews like an ashamed Chewbacca. The problem is, Stoner Sloth falls into the same pothole most anti-pot advertisements fall into: The people who scorn Stoner Sloth for using marijuana instead of trying to help him come across as irritating and unrealistic.
Perhaps worse than the advertisements is the blog that accompanies the campaign. The blog has nine GIFs, as of today, that blatantly play off of “millennial lingo.” One GIF reads “Stoned at dinner and the struggle is too real,” and another is captioned “TFW you realise [sic] you shouldn’t have smoked up.” Even the tagline of the campaign includes a hashtag: #stonersloth.
“The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be ‘shareable’ among, teenagers, who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use,” wrote Australia’s New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet in a statement to The New Matilda, an Australian website, confirming that the ad campaign is in fact real, and not satire. The statement continues, “We know that younger audiences respond more to campaigns highlighting the short-term consequences of their actions.”
The interwebs did not take too kindly to the aggressive campaign.
— Cop These Kicks (@CopThese) December 18, 2015
#StonerSloth has got to be the least effective anti-drug campaign I have ever seen. Who doesn’t want to be a sloth?
— Jemma (@jgiovannucci) December 18, 2015
— Kev | Tavi (@Tavster) December 15, 2015
Maybe the Australian government was not aware that the sloth already has a solid place in Internet symbolism, thanks to the Lyrical Sloth account on Twitter that has over 40,000 followers under the motto “Live Slow, Die Whenever.”
Apparently, some folks don’t see acting like a sloth as such a terrible thing after all.
Current mood: pic.twitter.com/yrIx0Zwrha
— Stoner Tweets™ (@WeedTveets) October 8, 2015
What do you think about Stoner Sloth? Tell us in the comments below.