An anti-drug campaign is being roundly mocked after it attempted to warn teens against the dangers of marijuana use, by using a disturbingly human-sized version of a sloth.
Viewers took to social media to question why the campaign used a South American mammal, with some posing the question: "How high were the people who made this?"
The first thing I thought when I saw #stonersloth was 'how high were the people who made this?'— Lauren Actually (@laureningram) December 19, 2015
The campaign, made by the New South Wales government, features three videos which supposedly represent someone under the influence of the drug.
In the first video a sloth named Jason is asked to do a simple task - pass the salt. But instead of using his talons to grab the condiment, he fetches the salad. The video title reacts and states 'the struggle is real'.
All three videos end with a teenager disparagingly shaking their head and muttering “stoner sloth”.
Such bizarre depictions of 'stoners' were latched onto by the public and even the NSW Premier Mike Baird.
Just saw the #StonerSloth ads. Not sure where NSW Gov's ad guys found Chewbaccas siblings, but those videos are... Quite something.— Mike Baird (@mikebairdMP) December 19, 2015
Yo Aussie government, #stonersloth failed as an anti drug campaign but I bet you could make your money back tenfold if you create a series 😂— Azor Ahi Tuna (@djkrusha) December 18, 2015
Whoever came up with the #stonersloth campaign was on something worse than weed. 😳— Galen Irias (@galenirias) December 18, 2015
Really dislike the drug but was a single young person consulted in the making of these stupid ads? Nobody will take #stonersloth seriously— Max Walden (@maxwalden_) December 18, 2015
The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPI), which was credited with the research behind the campaign, backed away from the videos.
The organisation said it was not involved in the campaign development and learned of the 'Stoner Sloth' idea when the ads were released this week.
They wrote in a statement: “While we wish the NSW government luck in future cannabis campaigns, the current stoner sloth campaign doesn’t reflect NCPIC views on how cannabis harms campaigns should be approached, as was implied by the media.”
The campaign also hit a downfall when users began to realise that it shares a name with an online cannabis store.
Using the website stonersloth.com.au without its Australian domain will direct you to a website with the tagline, “enjoy every smoking experience”.
But the backlash doesn't end there, and users began to parody the videos, with many creating their own alternative versions of the 'Stoner Sloth' craze.