The widely-panned Stoner Sloth campaign cost the NSW Government more than $350,000 and took up 268 hours of public servants’ time, according to figures obtained by the NSW Green Party.
According to the breakdown of figures creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi was paid $36,386 for the work, according to figures given to The Guardian by the Greens. The campaign portrayed stoned teenagers as giant sloths struggling to operate in social situations.
While launched at the end of November, the campaign made headlines in December after being picked up and widely parodied in social media, with The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre distancing itself from the work, and NSW Premier Mike Baird describing it as “quite something” on Twitter.
At the time the campaign was quoted as costing $500,000 of taxpayer’s money, although that is thought to include the 38-days worth of public servants’ time, on top of $351,790 in hard costs.
According to The Guardian $115,000 was spent on “research and evaluation” including $64,000 on market research, $136,700 was spent on production – a figure which included $59,814 for production company 8Com Australia and $23,000 for the actors – with $99,990 going to the state government’s media agency UM.
At the time Saatchis defended the campaign, with a spokesperson telling Fairfax media: “The videos we created were designed as part of a preventative campaign specifically for teens; the audience is not for adults or long-term cannabis users.
“Two different creative approaches were pre-tested by independent researchers among the teenage target audience, which verified the potential efficacy for this campaign.”
According to media monitoring company iSentia the campaign had 1,174 media mentions in December including 148 stories on TV and 856 on the web.
The campaign also gave rise to a number of parody videos: