NSW Government’s Stoner Sloth campaign cops social backlash a month after launch

A campaign by the NSW Government which launched a month ago has come under fire on social media over the weekend for depicting cannabis using teenagers as cartoon-style sloths, spawning parody videos and merchandise.

The Stoner Sloth campaign, which is understood to have been created by Saatchi & Saatchi, consists of three videos showing the effects of cannabis on young people by portraying them as sloths failing to recognise salt, flunking an exam and having an awkward social interaction at a party. It has a tagline “You’re worse on weed”.

This morning Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre is asking the NSW Government to remove its name from the campaign.

It is unclear why the campaign, which was launched in late November, only gained traction on social media over the weekend.

Many commenters said how much they like the ads because sloths have a certain cult appeal amongst young people, with one writing on the Stoner Sloth Facebook page they are “one of the most adorable animals in the world” and adding “where do I get some weed?”.

stoner sloth facebook

Stoner Sloth is also the name of a marijuana shop in the US.

While a spokesperson for the government is standing by the ads telling news outlets the campaign was “designed to be shareable” it appears NSW Premier Mike Baird may not be such a fan after he tweeted: “Just saw the ads. Not sure where NSW Gov’s ad guys found Chewbaccas siblings, but those videos are… Quite something.”

Then he quipped: “I’ve been assured no sloths were harmed in the making of those ads.”

mike baird stoner sloth

A parody video has also sprung up turning the dinner table version on its head by talking about how harmful salt can be to people.

While another plays on an infamous incident with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott during an interview:

And another remixes the sloth with a Dr Dre track:

And another goes into the Stoner Sloth’s fantasy land:

Others have created merchandise including t-shirts paying homage to the Stoner Sloth.

stoner sloth t-shirt


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