Perhaps you heard about all the commotion surrounding Australian PSA Stoner Sloth campaign in which a sloth-like creature is supposed to deter kids from smoking weed. All it really achieved was getting people to laugh at it and tweet that the character actually makes them want to light up. Critics have slammed the campaign as a waste of taxpayer's money to the tune of $500,000.
The agency behind the campaign, Saatchi & Saatchi is defending the campaign and, in a statement, said, "The videos we created were designed as part of a preventative campaign specifically for teens; the audience is not for adults or long-term cannabis users."
The agency even trotted out the focus group defense, saying, "Two different creative approaches were pre-tested by independent researchers among the teenage target audience, which verified the potential efficacy for this campaign."
And of the campaign's viral fame, the agency added, "The unexpected global media attention is now providing a platform for parents and teenagers all over the world to have 'the conversation' about cannabis in an engaging way."
So, yeah. Even when the entire world is ridiculing the campaign, Saatchi & Saatchi, in true ad agency self defense mode, is attempting to turn a negative into a positive.
Of course there's always the "any publicity is good publicity" and the more current "hey it went viral so it's all good" arguments so who really knows who the winners are here.