The #StonerSloth campaign, jointly released with St Vincent’s Alcohol and Drug Information Service, has garnered significant reaction on social media, with #StonerSloth trending at number one on Twitter Australia on Saturday.
Many users are saying the advertisements, which depict a stoned sloth in various youth environments, are “ridiculously funny” and “an early Christmas present”.
The campaign has its own website, as well as Facebook and Tumblr pages featuring videos, gifs and images, encouraging teens to stay away from marijuana.
In the first clip, a human-sized sloth, Delilha, is struggling in the classroom. The accompanying gif’s tagline states: “When you realise you should have hit the books and not the bong.”
Next we meet sloth Jason, who is too high to pass dinner around the table: “Stoned at dinner and the struggle is too real.”
Finally, we have Dave, who is definitely not the life of the party: “TFW [the feeling when] you realise you shouldn’t have smoked up.”
The Department of Premier and Cabinet told the ABC the campaign was designed to reach young people before cannabis use became a serious problem.
“The ‘stoner sloth’ public awareness campaign has been designed to encourage positive behaviours in young people before bad habits start, and motivate discontinued use of cannabis before they become dependent,” it said in a statement.
“The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be ‘shareable’ among, teenagers who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use.”
The department said younger people responded to campaigns highlighting short-term consequences of their actions.
“Studies have shown that those who use cannabis on more than 50 occasions are nearly seven times more likely to manifest schizophrenia than those who have never used cannabis, and teenagers who smoke cannabis weekly or more are twice as likely as non-users to have an anxiety disorder in their late 20s, even if they stop using,” it said.