Stoner Sloth

Last updated: November 22, 2021

What Does Stoner Sloth Mean?

In cannabis culture, the term 'stoner sloth' refers to an anti-marijuana campaign that was short-lived in 2015 in New South Wales, Australia.

The stoner sloth campaign was commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet and developed by the creative firm Saatchi & Saatchi. It consisted of three short videos that featured an actor in a sloth costume, warning youth about the dangers of marijuana usage.

It is said that the failed campaign cost around $500,000. It was heavily mocked and therefore was deemed a failure.


Maximum Yield Explains Stoner Sloth

In 2015, Australia's New South Wales released a handful of short videos that featured the Stoner Sloth, which some joked resembled Chewbacca's siblings. Its tagline was: "You're worse on weed."

In the videos, the stoner sloth was intended to depict youth who smoked cannabis and became unable to function in society due to slowed motor skills and function. One video showed a slow-moving sloth having trouble passing the salt at the dinner table, another showed the sloth struggling during a test, and the other showed the sloth not fitting in at a party.

Rather than being shamed into thinking marijuana was a dangerous substance, the youth in the region found the campaign funny and mocked it endlessly. The stoner sloth eventually became widely shared on social media ironically. It got its own hashtag and t-shirts were even made up to honor the stoner sloth.

AdWeek deemed the campaign a failure, saying specifically that it backfired. Quite quickly, the Australia's National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre disowned the work. At the time of the campaign's criticisms, the creators of the campaign stood by their work, telling AdWeek in a statement: "The 'Stoner Sloth' public awareness campaign has been designed to encourage positive behaviors in young people before bad habits start, and motivate discontinued use of cannabis before they become dependent. The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be 'shareable' among, teenagers, who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use. We know that younger audiences respond more to campaigns highlighting the short-term consequences of their actions."


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