'Stoner Sloth' goes viral: Anti-weed campaign mocked after directing stoners to cannabis website (Video)
'Stoner Sloth' goes viral: Anti-weed campaign mocked after directing stoners to cannabis website (Video)

‘Stoner Sloth’ goes viral: Anti-weed campaign mocked after directing stoners to cannabis website (Video)

Videos of “Stoner Sloth,” a cute but pathetic character who can’t handle life because of marijuana, are bringing in more laughs than self-reflection by cannabis advocates.

When the New South Wales government decided to tackle marijuana use amongst teenagers with an ad campaign, legendary agency Saatchi & Saatchi came up with the concept of the ‘stoner sloth’ – dozy, confused human-sized sloths intended to warn teenagers about the dangers of marijuana use.

The official website presents a series of scenarios – accompanied by animations and videos like the one above – that the sloth is unable to cope with. Some examples include: “when you realise you should have hit the books and not the bong” and “stoned at dinner and the struggle is too real”. In the clips, the sloth is seen as slow and unresponsive to questions posed by friends, family and teachers.

“The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be ‘shareable’ among, teenagers who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use,” the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet told Australia’s ABC News.

Response to the campaign – dubbed ‘you’re worse on weed’ – has, however, ranged from confusion to criticism to parody.

Country-wide anti-cannabis campaign the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), for instance, has distanced itself from the concept

“NCPIC was not advised of, or consulted about, creative concept – the stoner sloth idea… While we wish the NSW government luck in future cannabis campaigns, the current stoner sloth campaign doesn’t reflect NCPIC views on how ‘cannabis harms’ campaigns should be approached,” said a statement from the organisation.

There have been numerous online parodies since the campaign launched in November, with many becoming viral sensations. Enterprising individuals are even selling T-shirts featuring the sloths.

There has been another unfortunate consequence of the campaign, according to the Guardian. The stoner sloth has driven traffic to a US-based website which has a strikingly similar name. The American site, however, far from being anti-drugs, is billed as a ‘cannabis solutions website’.


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