Companies, individuals and Governments spend plenty of money and time putting together ideas and hiring professionals to get their messaging right. In developing a brief, communications agencies conduct research, gather information and develop content based on target audiences, messaging and desired outcomes.
So, how did the NSW Government’s #stonersloth campaign go so wrong? Who came up with the idea that someone would dress in a sloth costume, make moaning noises and appear in a cheesy series of ads complete with hashtags like #passthesalt, #weed #youreworseonweed and #family? Sure, the campaign is getting plenty of attention with its target audience, but what about the desired outcome of getting people to focus on the anti-drug taking message. In this instance, it’s way off the mark.
We are very much looking forward to the next Gruen episode on the ABC in the New Year where no doubt they will dissect the ad. We are also looking forward to Budget Estimates next year where we will find out a bit more about the cost of putting this campaign together. We are pretty sure that the Opposition will have as much fun as the social media parody commentators have since the campaign began.
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and NSW Health who launched the campaign claimed that the ad agency who developed the ad was informed by research conducted by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre. They in turn have distanced themselves from this claim, saying they do not want to be associated with the ads.
Whatever the case, rather than discouraging drug use, the ads have now gone viral online, social media has gone into overdrive and you can even order your own #stonersoth T-Shirts online.
For those who have not yet seen the ads you can have a look by clicking on the image.
In our opinion putting together a good communications campaign for a company or individual relies on really understanding the objective and the audience. Surely these ads would have been shown to focus groups prior to being released?
In this instance of the #stonersloth campaign we don’t really believe that any publicity is good publicity because unfortunately the desired outcome of the campaign is way off the mark, even if the videos will give most people a good laugh.
Let us know what you think.