A new anti-Meth PSA campaign is drawing ridicule and anger around the country.
According to AP, South Dakota has seen an uptick in meth use by 12- to 17-year-olds in the last year that is double the national average. From 2014 to 2018, the number of people in the state seeking treatment for meth addiction has doubled.
Officer Brendyn Medina of the Rapid City police told NBC News that drugs arrests were at an all-time high in Rapid City in 2018: 1,546 for a city of around 75,000. “It’s probably the number one public safety epidemic facing the city, the state, and much of the Midwest,” adding that meth use has a “nexus with violent crime.”
After a review, which included nine in-state agencies, was eventually awarded to Minneapolis-based agency, Broadhead Company.
Figures have been floating around that the agency was paid between $450K and $700K for the new $1.4M campaign.
The campaign while clever, is confusing as it prominently features South Dakotans with the bold headline, “I’m on Meth.” Obviously, the message implies people you don’t suspect are using the drug, but it can also be interpreted as a new user campaign.
ALSO READ: Laughlin develops cheery site for Hoosier Lottery
Reaction was immediate and not very complimentary. Social media users were not afraid (when are they ever) to share their opinion:
this is ‘’meth—we’re on it” dumb https://t.co/rFTnv3Z9jv
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) November 21, 2019
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
Yes this is real and yes the state spent nearly half a million dollars on it: https://t.co/Nc0nKoXGBP
— Dianna E. Anderson ?️? (@diannaeanderson) November 18, 2019
“Meth. We’re on it” is the Trump 2020 campaign slogan.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) November 22, 2019
While we focus on South Dakota’s “Meth. We’re on it.” ad campaign, we should not forget the state’s failed “Don’t Jerk and Drive” campaign from 2014.https://t.co/hFciHO5Qc7 pic.twitter.com/KQLpngeTbO
— Cooper Lund (@cooperlund) November 18, 2019
South Dakota just launched a new anti-meth campaign and paid $449,000 for this slogan: “Meth. We’re on it” pic.twitter.com/PkmQBjtUQ3
— Bloomberg TicToc (@TicToc) November 23, 2019
This picture of Mt. Rushmore explains South Dakota’s new campaign: “Meth. We’re on it.” #LSSC pic.twitter.com/wDB4xTOzm9
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) November 23, 2019
Noem Defends Campaign
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was quick to respond to the criticism, both on social and TV.
Appearing on Fox & Friends, Noem said that one of her first pledges as governor was to “tackle the difficult challenges in our state and one of them is [methamphetamine] addiction.”
She told the show that South Dakota has “double the national average of middle schoolers in our state that are using meth.”
“It is impacting every family. It’s clogging our courts and our jails, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars…And this ad campaign is to get people talking,” she explained.
Hey Twitter, the whole point of this ad campaign is to raise awareness. So I think that’s working… #thanks #MethWeAreOnIt
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) November 18, 2019
“People that are joking about this obviously are not watching the ad campaign, they’re not watching the commercials, and they don’t have anybody in their life that they’re dealing with,” she added. “So, this is really something that people need to take seriously and I encourage them to go to the website.”
The South Dakota Advertising Federation, upset that the account went to a Minnesota ad agency, released a statement.
“South Dakota has an incredible pool of talent in terms of advertisers and marketers, as well as young talent that is continually desiring to enter our in-state workforce.
When public, in-state entities decide to award large advertising budgets to out-of-state companies, we can’t help but throw a red flag and remind the public of the implications.
Our in-state talent is incredibly in tune with the opportunities and challenges our state holds. We are acutely aware of the seriousness of the issues currently affecting our state. And we are passionate about our state’s future.
Nine in-state agencies, among others, desired to work on the Meth Awareness Campaign recently launched on November 18. A campaign tackling a serious, real and devastating epidemic. A campaign that should not be taken lightly.
The budget dollars that are now exiting our state could have been put to great use here. They could have saved positions at agencies that are looking for new business. The dollars could have given new graduates opportunities to stay in state. The dollars could have delivered a message by South Dakotans that resonates with South Dakota.
This holiday season – and all year round – please consider the incredible talents, retailers and opportunities we have here in South Dakota. Please patronize them and feel good about stimulating in-state economy and providing additional and new opportunities.
South Dakota Advertising Federation
Noem has called the ads a success. She says the campaign was intended to be “provocative” and the Minneapolis agency chosen because it proposed ads that go beyond typical drug awareness campaigns.
The campaign is expected to run through May and include a website, billboards, and television.
Contact Colin Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org