The people of the Australian state of New South Wales aren’t ready to follow Oregon’s lead and legalize marijuana. At least they weren’t before the regional government released Stoner Sloth on an unsuspecting populace. The new ad campaign, by the Australian office of the ad firm Saatchi Saatchi, presents stoned teenagers as actual sloths that are unable to function in everyday situations, like when taking an exam in school or being asked to pass the salt at the dinner table.
The ads have apparently had the opposite of the intended effect, with Australians embracing the sloth as their inspiration and roundly mocking the campaign on social media. “The cartoonish scare tactics are so over-the-top that not only are they ineffective, they may even encourage teens to spark up,” wrote Adweek.
Not one thing has made me want to blaze up as much as #stonersloth has. Big grinny hugs to the Bairdy one.
— Elliot V. Schoemaker (@evs) December 18, 2015
The “Bairdy one” is New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, who has admitted the ads are “quite something.” He tried to make light of the failed public-service announcements on Twitter.
I’ve been assured no sloths were harmed in the making of those #StonerSloth ads.
— Mike Baird (@mikebairdMP) December 19, 2015
Needless to say, plenty of Internet jokers beat him to it, including a news-satire site that insisted it’s Baird dressed up in the sloth outfit.
Watch a compilation of the Stoner Sloth PSAs below — then, because it’ll put you in the mood for it, check out Kristen Bell as she discovers the demon week in the 2005 musical “Reefer Madness.”