The best commercials will shift your mental gears to whatever product or concept is being presented, whether temporarily or permanently. And some will do the exact opposite, causing viewers to question every decision the advertising agency made. The latter is closer to what’s happening with a recent string of anti-marijuana promos from the New South Wales government in Australia, which use a sloth as an animalification of stoners. Among the many levels across which the campaign fails is its own bafflingly ill-chosen concept and accompanying website, which are often bringing people to a pro-marijuana website. Not the most clear-headed plan.
So, it turns out the TV stoner sloth that tells viewers “You’re Worse on Weed” is the second stoner sloth website to come into existence – it’s "www.stonersloth.com.au." There was already a “cannabis solutions” website by that name, based in Colorado and run by someone named Daniel. But the difference lies in that country suffix, as the U.S. version is just "www.stonersloth.com," and both that site and its related social media pages have received a good-sized bit of traffic because of the Australian campaign. So some teens and concerned parents looking to find genuine information about the Australian ads are finding themselves smack dab in the middle of pot-centered linkage, and tokers looking to genuinely make fun of the site are finding themselves in a more sympathetic place. It’s win-win for O.G. Stoner Sloth.
Unpredicted traffic doesn’t mean Daniel wasn’t critical of the campaign, though, as he told Guardian Australia it was an “outdated dramatization” of how people get when they’re high. He also knocks them for using a “mascot” for the campaign, as those are usually used to win people over. (You’d find no shock from me if it’s revealed stoners love these commercials for being so lazy and silly.) And it sounds like the ad’s creative team understood they weren’t pioneers in the stoner sloth land. Says Daniel:
The irony of it is pretty funny. They really wanted to go with the Stoner Sloth brand for this, despite the domain and pages being used.
The entire thing, from the ads themselves to the inadvertent weed promotion, seems like it’s all a sketch written by a troupe that had just imbibed and tried to think of the worst way possible to make the kids of 2015 wary of smoking pot. You can watch a handful of them below.
It’s been a weird year for the wacky tobacky, with decriminalization and other forms of acceptance happening across the country and globe. It’s just a matter of time before weed commercials are a part of our daily lives, for better or worse. And now I’m hoping someone puts a stoner sloth costume out for Halloween next year.