The fallout from the New South Wales Government’s disastrous anti-marijuana campaign has continued this morning with Premier Mike Baird revealing that he was inside the infamous Stoner Sloth costume the whole time.
Baird had originally backtracked from the campaign, attempting to distance the Premier’s office from the ridicule the advertisements were receiving but ultimately was forced to admit his role as photos emerged of the Premier on set, spending four hours in a makeup chair being slowly transformed into the now hated jungle creature.
“It was a public relations stunt gone wrong,” said Baird. “We simply misjudged. Our focus groups had said that teens would be wild for the sloth. We thought we were building on a whole lot of pro-sloth momentum in popular culture right now. Unfortunately the information we received appears to have been mistaken and on further review, clearly sarcastic.
“Of course, compounding this was the fact that I was in the sloth costume during the filming of these sketches. We thought it would be a fun Easter egg for the fans of the sloth. It formed a vital part of my social media strategy. Live-tweeting shows, having a slightly cheeky attitude in public statements and the pièce de résistance, dressing up as the hero of the youth a giant anthropomorphic sloth whose life has been ruined by the weed drug.
“We thought in the height of the sloth-based hysteria and fandom, ‘Slothmania2016’ we had coined it, that we would reveal it was me and I’d do a couple of skateboard tricks in the sloth costume while everyone went wild hollering and saying that they couldn’t wait to vote so they could say yes to me and no to the bad drug with the good times. Unfortunately that isn’t how this ended up.”
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Public health officials have claimed that the campaign has already had negative effects on the teen populace.
“We’re seeing a huge boost in marijuana use amongst youths,” said one front-line public health worker. “It seems they’ve gotten into their heads that if you smoke marijuana you’ll gain some kind of incredible transformative Animorphs-styled powers.
“I have no idea who told them this but since the weekend our emergency department has been filled with worryingly high teens believing that they were to become sloths or hawks or even a tiger if they smoked the terrible kindness.”
Baird said he still stands behind the campaign despite the ridicule it has received.
“So maybe we miscalculated and teens cannot be motivated out of fear of being labelled the same as the worst animal, the sloth. That’s not to say this doesn’t still have value. The Stoner Sloth is the perfect mascot for its own campaign. It’s behind its time. It’s unresponsive. No one likes it. People make fun of it and it’s incapable of responding. This is the kind of anti-marijuana campaign we’re running.”