South Dakota is on meth? 😳

What on earth were they thinking?

I do believe the whole internet is roaring over this. The Governor is very proud of the new anit-meth campaign. And said the buzz on the internet proves how successful it is.

What’s that old saying … you want them to laugh with you … not at you…

South Dakota is on meth — at least, that’s the message behind a new anti-drug ad campaign so widely mocked that one marketing expert could only laugh before calling it “a colossal blunder.”

The “Meth. We’re On It.” awareness initiative was unveiled Monday by South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem ® to address the state’s methamphetamine crisis. In a news release, officials underscored the importance of combating drug use in a state where twice as many 12- to 17-year-olds reported using meth compared with the national average.

South Dakota’s meth crisis is growing at an alarming rate. It impacts every community in our state, and it threatens the success of the next generation,” Noem said in a public service announcement. “This is our problem, and together, we need to get on it.”

“Let’s get meth out of South Dakota,” she added.

The state’s Department of Social Services paid a Minneapolis ad agency nearly $449,000 this fall for the effort, the Argus Leader reported, citing the state’s finances website.

But Bill Pearce, assistant dean at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said any sincere messaging by the governor was lost by an ad campaign that embodies “poor strategy and poor execution.”

“I can’t imagine this is what they intended to do; any good marketer would look at this and say: 'Yeah, let’s not do that,’ ” Pearce said. “I’m sure South Dakota residents don’t like being laughed at. That’s what’s happening right now."

Pearce said the advertisements — which are placed on television, billboards and posters — feel like domestic policy more than an actual effort to reach the people who need the resources.

“This is not about trying to find people in the tough parts of town that are hiding from society and using meth,” he said. “This is about telling everyone in the state: ‘I know we’ve got a problem, and I’m addressing it.’ Nobody thought about the ramifications. The Twitter reactions are hysterical.”

By Monday evening, social media had a field day with the slogan and accompanying ads, which, many said, make it sound as though everyone in the state is using the drug.

Beth Egan, an associate professor for advertising at Syracuse University, had similar concerns about the ad. Her first reaction, she said, was: “What were they thinking?”

“One of the things that struck me is, obviously everyone gets the play on words, they’re trying a twist,” she said. “But what they’re missing is that advertisers no longer have control over the conversation. You need to be mindful of how consumers are gonna take it and run with it in their own way.”

Egan was also struck by how much South Dakota spent on the campaign when about 882,235 people live in the state.

“I know they’re not necessarily looking for a financial return, but that’s a lot of money,” she said.

Appearing to respond to the backlash in a Sunday evening tweet, Noem bought into the adage that any publicity is good publicity. She suggested the campaign was successful because so many people were talking about it.

In a separate statement emailed to The Washington Post, she called the anti-meth initiative “a bold, innovative effort like the nation has never before seen.”

“South Dakota’s anti-meth campaign launch is sparking conversations around the state and the country,” she said. “The mission of the campaign is to raise awareness — to get people talking about how they can be part of the solution and not just the problem. It is working.”

But Pearce isn’t buying it.

“There’s another trope that goes, ‘When they’re running you out of town, pick up a baton and pretend you’re leading the parade,’ ” he said. “That’s what this feels like.”


The Video portion of this report leaves me shaking my head. I think they need to stop trying to be clever with their messages … Wow!! :flushed:

Credits go to Walter White, CCO and Jesse Pinkman CD.


lmaooo Steve :smiley:

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This has got to be one of the most awkward ad campaigns I’ve run across yet. Despite the huge exposure they’re getting with it, I just don’t think it’s the right message. I’m not even sure if they’re playing it as being humorous (meth isn’t funny) or telling everyone that they’re “on it” as in being all over top of the problem. Either way, it’s a stretch and just sort of yucky.

When this first hit the news, I thought it must be the work of a government committee, but no. The Minneapolis agency, Broadhead + Co, apparently came up with it. Why, I have no idea. How they managed to sell the idea to a group of state government bureaucrats, I have no idea either.

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It’s definitely odd. It is getting people talking, but IMO not about the issue per se. Now, if they could show how various programs, or various agencies etc. are making an impact and saying that they are “on it”, maybe, MAYBE they could salvage it.

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This isn’t the first time the state of South Dakota has rolled out a bizarrely awful public service ad campaign. There’s also this one from four or five years ago that I’m hesitating to even mention:


They mentioned that one in the video too. Another “What were they thinking?”

Yikes!!! :flushed:

Exactly! It’s one thing to come up with a “clever” ad campaign. It’s a whole other thing to back it up with concrete measures and results.

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South Dakota, I’m basically resting my case.

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Puns. Almost never a good idea. Learned it the hard way. :wink:

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And you wonder, if they had put that half mil into law enforcement, maybe they could have cracked the drug pipeline. Or maybe put a dent in it.

Funny thing was, I got the pun right away, and didn’t see the problem. Especially when using the “we’re on it” rather than “I’m on it” line. Maybe the problem is in other people, further away from the issue, laughing at and belittling other’s misfortune? Someone should set up a funding page that for every tweet, facebook, instagram meme you create, a dollar gets donated to the meth recovery fund. Put your money where your social media is.


Alternative rejected campaign slogans:

  • Heroin. Let’s shoot it.
  • Cocaine? Snort.
  • Marihuana. We’re going to smoke you!
  • LSD. Are you tripping?
  • Ecstasy. A bitter pill to swallow.

Nearly $1/2 Million for this crap?

…wait, there’s a South Dakota?! lol… sorry, all the meth makes me stoopid.

If only I used my Photoshop skills for good . . .

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