Culture

NSW Government Launches Anti-Drug Campaign, “Stoner Sloth”. Beautifully, It’s Also The Name Of An Online Weed Store

Nice try, guys.

In the latest attempt to be some sort of dorky omnipotent dad, the NSW government has released a new anti-marijuana campaign aimed at school-aged millennials — with an absolutely blazed sloth as the mascot. “Stoner Sloth” can’t seem to differentiate between salt and salad, is socially inept and flunks school exams because they are Stoner Sloth and they are stoned literally all of the time.

Obviously, the internet thinks this is hilarious.

Using Tumblr as their platform, because they have on good authority that that’s what all the kids are using these days, the government has uploaded a series of Stoner Sloth videos, with a bunch of cringey hashtags, such as #fail and #embarrased (yep, they misspelt ’embarrassed’). They’ve even made some Stoner Sloth gifs, which seem to be quite successful so far, depending on how you measure success.

The ads are also doing the rounds on Facebook, where the whole ridiculousness of the campaign gets taken even further in the comments. “Is this a legit campaign HAHAHA” and “I literally can’t tell if this is satire or legit” are the majority of comments being posted, and “it’s no joke” and “it’s legit” are Stoner Sloth’s completely serious responses.

The message is “you’re worse on weed”, and this first clip tries to drive this home by implying if you get stoned, you’ll show up to parties and just groan at people and hold out your huge claws in front of you really awkwardly (but also kind of adorably??).

Stoned at a party – can’t speak, can’t think & can’t run away. www.stonersloth.com.au #stonersloth

Posted by Stoner Sloth on Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Then there’s the very scary scenario of being stoned with your parents at dinner and getting momentarily confused between salt and salad. Like omfg could you imagine #fail #awkward #stonersloth.

Yeah, they know you’re stoned… and it doesn’t look good. www.stonersloth.com.au #stonersloth

Posted by Stoner Sloth on Tuesday, 1 December 2015

And what would an anti-drug campaign be without a passive-aggressive lecture on the importance of doing well at school? Literally nothing, that’s what.

Weed’s not exactly a performance enhancing drug. www.stonersloth.com.au #stonersloth

Posted by Stoner Sloth on Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Apparently, they missed the memo where sloths are both a universally beloved creature that every single person on the planet wishes to one day own as a pet, and the already-existing symbol for getting unashamedly, catastrophically stoned. In a really brilliant twist of irony, the ‘stoner sloth’ trope is used so widely amongst marijuana smokers that there is even an online weed store named after it. Stonersloth.com is only an “.au” away from the government’s anti-marijuana site. You cannot make this stuff up.

But aside from being deeply absurd, the ads come across as out of touch. While the rest of the world is decriminalising and even legalising recreational marijuana use — and Australia is slowly but surely catching up with medicinal use — the campaign feels particularly anachronistic, and a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.

At best, the ads are inadvertently contributing to a wider public discussion around the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of drug prohibition and criminalisation. At worst, they’re encouraging kids to get a pet sloth (and that’s arguably the best). Either way, the NSW government is pretty much the only one not favouring from them.