that adorable stoned sloth was super expensive

To be fair, we'd pay to see a South American mammal wear pants.

by i-D Staff
18 February 2016, 4:45am

Screenshot via Youtube

Last year the government's controversial Stoner Sloth campaign drew a lot of attention. Just not for any of the reasons they hoped. The video showing cross section of teenage sloths battling their way through school and family life in a haze ran nationally, but eventually went viral globally. Intended to show kids how weed slows you down, it only really served to reinforce everyone's love of sloths.

At the time there was some conversation around how much this all cost. Sure, it was hilarious and adorable, but tax payer also reportedly shelled out as much as half a million dollars for the laugh. At the time Saatchi & Saatchi (the advertising agency behind the campaign) half-heartedly defended it; arguing adults just like, didn't get it.

This week that number was cleared up when details released under freedom of information laws revealed that the New South Whales government in fact spent $350,000 and 265 public servant work hours on a South American mammal that can't figure out how to pass the salt.

NSW Greens member of the upper house Dr Mehreen Faruqi obtained the cost break down which also mentioned that Saatchi & Saatchi pocketed $36,386 for their work. In case you're thinking, on the bright side, they came in under the originally reported half million dollar budget, that figure actually still stands after you include the paid public servant time.

Mehreen Faruqi spoke for most of the country not laughing at an animal wearing pants when he said: "The $350,000 and the public service time would have been much better spent in actually doing an educational campaign and talking to the community, having a grown-up conversation about the risks of drug use, or actually putting it into a campaign around health"

On the upside, actors got paid $23,000-which you could argue is pretty cheap considering some of those performances. Remember when the little girl sloth had a bow on? That was surely worth $10k alone in pure joy.

Most amazingly, $115,000 was spent on research and evaluation. Again, this was for a project that cast sloths as stoner kids. You would think that for $115k someone would have realised that the official URL is pretty close to US company dedicated to providing "cannabis solutions". Or as they explain, "help weed through the mediocre stores and professionals you will find in the cannabis industry only leaving top quality products and services."

Since the accidental viral hit took off the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) made their feeling clear saying, "the current stoner sloth campaign doesn't reflect NCPIC views on how cannabis harms campaigns should be approached".

No official sloth spokespeople has taken a public position, but we assume they loved it.