Premier Mike Baird says there is “no exact science” to advertising and will review the Stoner Sloth anti-marijuana campaign in the wake of global mockery.
The NSW government’s Stoner Sloth campaign has been the brunt of jokes, with stories on the BBC and Time Magazine as well as being shared on social media around the world.
The anti-drug campaign features several videos of a human-size sloth depicting a stoned teenager in different scenarios.
‘I’m not an expert in relation to advertising or those sort of campaigns,” Mr Baird said.
#StonerSloth had been shared on Twitter almost as much in the US as in Australia and has sparked T-shirt designs, memes and altered videos of the former PM Tony Abbott featuring in the ad.
The Facebook page has attracted more than 15,000 likes and close to 2,000 comments on most of the videos.
The premier himself had earlier poked fun at the campaign via his Twitter account.
‘Just saw the #StonerSloth ads. Not sure where NSW Gov’s ad guys found Chewbaccas siblings, but those videos are … Quite something,’ Mr Baird tweeted on Saturday.
On Monday the NSW Greens called the campaign “juvenile” and “ludicrous”, filing an information request into the costing of the campaign, which was reportedly contracted to global advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi.
‘The community would be much better off if public money were used for proven harm reduction strategies,’ NSW Greens Drugs and Harm Minimisation spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi said in a statement.
The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre said it was not consulted on the content of the ad, which does not reflect its views on how cannabis harm campaigns should be approached.
Mr Baird said the government’s first priority was always to prevent teenagers from using drugs and they would assess the success of the campaign.
The target audience has embraced it in a different way.
‘Smoke weed, become one of the most adorable animals in the world. Where do I get some weed?’ Andrew replied to one of the Facebook videos.
Many visitors to the page asked if the video was a joke or satire but the Stoner Sloth Facebook page administrator replied: “It’s legit.”
‘Give poor middle aged #Stonersloth a break, they only used the term legit because they thought it would make them down with the kids. They really wanted to say groovy,’ David replied.