An advertising campaign to address methamphetamine use in the US state of South Dakota has drawn attention for its bizarre catchphrase, ‘Meth. We’re On It’.
The campaign includes television advertisements, billboards, posters and a website with the URL OnMeth.com.
A 15-second ad features people, including a farmer in a field and a man in a cafe, saying “I’m on meth”.
“Meth is not someone else’s problem,” a voiceover says.
“It’s everyone in South Dakota’s problem, and we need everyone to get on it.”
A message on the campaign’s official website urges the community to approach the meth problem “from different angles, so it doesn’t take over counties, towns, neighbourhoods”.
“Let’s work together. Meth. We’re on it,” it says.
My home state just announced a new drug awareness campaign.
Here it is. pic.twitter.com/SYXFbTUCTp
— Dianna E. Anderson 🏳️🌈 (@diannaeanderson) November 18, 2019
Campaign garners mixed reception
Twitter users in South Dakota and beyond immediately weighed in on the campaign, with some concerned it seemingly outed its own advocates as meth users and others praising the ad for its self-aware wording.
Governor Kristi Noem said the campaign was “working”.
“Meth isn’t someone else’s problem, and it’s critical that fighting meth and extending hope to meth users becomes a part of daily conversations,” she said.
“I am confident South Dakota can lead the country in this effort and demonstrate ways we can aggressively combat addiction and spark opportunities for recovery.”
Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Social Services Laurie Gill described the campaign as “inclusive and empowering”.
“We’re encouraging everyone to work together to eliminate meth,” she said.
Spending half a million dollars to tell people you’re on meth feels like more of a cocaine vibe. https://t.co/ANWlTBIhYK
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) November 18, 2019
History of bizarre ads
South Dakota has a history of questionable safety campaigns, with a 2015 ad advising road users “don’t jerk and drive” intending to prevent drivers over-correcting their steering wheel in icy conditions.
“Resist the urge to jerk the steering wheel,” the ad’s narrator said.
“Over-correcting only creates more chaos.
“Besides, nobody likes a jerker.”
The campaign was eventually pulled, with the Department of Public Safety saying the double entendre was distracting from the campaign’s safety message.
Another 2015 effort “Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota?” attempted to lure young people to settle in the sparsely populated state by comparing it favourably to the barren wasteland of Mars.