The ridiculed Stoner Sloth campaign cost taxpayers $350,000 -- here's who got paid what

Photo: Screenshot/ Stoner Sloth

In December the NSW government launched an anti-marijuana campaign labelled “Stoner Sloth”.

In the series the character – a man in a sloth costume – is unable to sit a high school exam, pass salt around the dinner table or mingle with others at a party — a depiction of the inhibiting effects of cannabis.

While the ads were meant to deter Australian kids from using the drug, using the tagline “you’re worse on weed”, the campaign instead attracted public mockery and criticism by health experts.

Even NSW Premier Mike Baird even made light of it, tweeting that he wasn’t sure where they’d found “Chewbacca’s siblings.”

The ads cost taxpayers $351,790, it has emerged.

Detailed costings of the initiative released under freedom of information laws shows it took 265 hours of work to make the ads, and reveals a breakdown of who pocketed what.

Here’s the list:

$115,000 was spent on research and evaluation

This included:

  • A literature review by the Sax Institute and the University of New South Wales on the effectiveness of cannabis education programs for $28,000
  • Research by the University of Technology Sydney for $23,000; and
  • Market research at a cost of $64,000

  • A further $136,700 was spent on production.

    This included:

  • $59,814 being paid to production company 8Com Australia
  • $23,000 for actors
  • And finally:

  • $99,990 went to the media agency Universal McCann; and
  • $36,386 was paid to the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi

  • The campaign went viral, with more than 4 million views on Facebook and YouTube and more than 30,000 Facebook likes.

    Here’s a look at one of the ads.

    The Guardian has more.

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