Saatchi & Saatchi says critics of $500,000 Stoner Sloth campaign are not target audience

stoner sloth facebookA week after the Stoner Sloth anti-drug campaign became the butt of numerous jokes on the internet the ad agency behind it has come out to defend it, saying the majority of critics are not its target audience.

Saatchi & Saatchi was the creative agency commissioned by the NSW Government to make the campaign which likens dope smoking teens to an anti-social sloth.

In a statement the agency, which has previously refused to comment on the campaign, said the clips has generated a “significant return on investment” for the “moderate” $500,000 campaign costs.

The campaign was actually launched at the end of November, but was not widely picked up on social media until mid-December. The videos have now amassed more than 4m views on Facebook and Youtube, and generated media coverage around the world.

However the campaign has generated numerous memes and parody videos with much of the social media commentary mocking the ads claiming they miss the mark.


“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,” a spokesman is reported as telling Fairfax media.

“Two different creative approaches were pre-tested by independent researchers among the teenage target audience, which verified the potential efficacy for this campaign.”

They added it had created an opportunity for parents to have conversations with kids about drug use.

The article also quotes media agency UM, which did the media buy for the campaign, as saying: “While it’s early days, our research shows the majority of negative comments are not from our target audience, which is teenagers.”

Adman Toby Ralph penned an opinion for Mumbrella in which he said he wished he had made the campaign himself.

He added: “Sure the sloth is quite likeable and this has drawn criticism from some who feel it may be aspirational; and for some dullards it may. But many stoners are likeable, and the alternative of demonising them wouldn’t ring true to me – they tend to be dull, not evil.

“Besides, I believe people are intelligent enough to work this out for themselves.”

Alex Hayes

Related: The Annual 2015: Worst ads of the year 


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