Turns Out The Stoner Sloth Campaign Cost NSW Taxpayers A Pretty Massive Amount Of Money

Indulging Mike Baird's puritanical side didn't come cheap.

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Remember this hairy little scamp?

Stoner Sloth, the hilariously misguided drugs-are-bad campaign released by the NSW government in December, was universally recognised as a vastly terrible idea from the moment it was released. Even Premier Mike Baird, whose own department oversaw the campaign’s inception, tried to distance himself from the backlash.

Since then, Baird has gone from Cool Dad to Chief of the Fun Police in the public eye, with his defence of the Sydney lockout laws casting him as a self-styled moral watchdog of other people’s private business. That perception’s probably about to get a fresh round of oxygen, given that the true cost of the Stoner Sloth campaign to taxpayers has just been released.

As reported in Guardian Australia earlier today, Stoner Sloth cost the state government a cool $351,790, including $115,000 on market research and another $136,700 on production. The actors who played all those Cool Teens Who Don’t Do Drugs took home a cool $23,000, while just under $100,000 went to a media agency. 265 public servant hours were devoted to the project — around 33 full workdays, if you assume an eight-hour day — which is a hell of a lot of time to come up with the Muppet equivalent of Reefer Madness.

Ironically, $28,000 of that market research went towards studying how to make an effective marijuana education program, the findings of which were seemingly less helpful than a napkin with the words “don’t make an adorable, constantly-stoned creature the centrepiece of your anti-drugs campaign” scrawled on it in tomato sauce.

All kidding aside, $350,000 is a pretty hefty pricetag to indulge a state government’s puritanical streak. Given Mike Baird’s changing public image, Stoner Sloth is probably going to get much less of a laugh this time round.