‘Meth. We’re on it’: Oddly-worded South Dakota drug awareness campaign ‘breaks bad’ on social media
Taking a bizarre twist on “I am Spartacus,” the ads portray average South Dakotans – a kindly old farmer, a churchgoing grandma, high school football players – sternly telling the camera “I’m on meth,” with a narrator cutting in with the standard anti-drug PSA: “meth is not someone else’s problem.”
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem also hopped aboard the campaign, encouraging residents to "partner" up with a neighbor to "be on meth" in a personal video message.
Governor Kristi Noem: "That's the tagline. 'I'm on meth.'" pic.twitter.com/yNC7RZ5CAx— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 19, 2019
While the ads attempt to take a serious tone to address a crisis “growing at an alarming rate,” countless social media users couldn’t help but laugh at the odd wording of the message, one asking“Are we sure this isn’t a pro-meth campaign?”
This is probably the best thing to happen to meth since Breaking Bad https://t.co/ESGhNExjBa— Jennifer Mascia (@JenniferMascia) November 18, 2019
South Dakota: "Meth. We're on it." The rest of the country: "Hey, um, are you guys OK over there?" https://t.co/wX5aNWYoX3— ArgusLeader911 (@Argus911) November 18, 2019
Developed by marketing and ad firm Broadhead Co., the campaign cost the state just shy of $450,000, including for the video series, billboards, posters and a website, but some were not impressed with the hefty price tag and offered their own services.
$450K? I am in the wrong line of work. I can easily make your state, company or family an absolute laughingstock for no more than $100K. HMU. https://t.co/HpB8lJP4aZ— Visionary Director Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) November 18, 2019
There was some dispute over whether the double-entendre implied in “Meth. We’re On It” was deliberate, some criticizing the ads’ “phrasing,” others hailing it as a brilliant marketing move.
Anyone tweeting anything to the effect of "get a load of these yokels, bet they wished they'd hired a copy-editor" regarding the South Dakota anti-drug initiative slogan ("Meth. We're On It") is proving what an ingenious marketing campaign it is by giving them free advertising.— Paul Masson (@paulmassonbrand) November 18, 2019
Running with the idea, netizens helped South Dakota brainstorm additional not-so-anti-drug slogans.
For half the cost of this campaign I will develop an even better slogan:“Drugs. Hell yeah.” https://t.co/f4JfuU5veC— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) November 18, 2019
The meth campaign is not the first time South Dakota has raised eyebrows with a quirky public service announcement, running a series of ads in 2014 warning drivers not to “jerk and drive” in snowy conditions – referring to the steering wheel, of course.
South Dakota's "Meth: We're On It" campaign. Better or worse than its northern sister's infamous and just as clueless "Leave a Legend" tourism campaign? pic.twitter.com/IElkq9UlTY— Dominic Papatola (@Papatola) November 18, 2019
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