Let’s Laugh Together At Canada’s New Anti-Marijuana PSAs

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Educating Canadians on the dangers of “high” driving is important, but these PSAs make us laugh, too.

Something about anti-marijuana ads just makes us giggle. Portraying people inebriated by cannabis in an exaggerated manner inherently leads to goofy characterizations and metaphors. Even as a teenager, watching those “Above the Influence” commercials on TV didn’t teach me anything. Instead, I just laughed at the preposterous notion that smoking weed would transform a girl into a literally flat human being.

Poor Flat Sara.

But a new campaign from the Ontario government—a province of Canada—is funny for the right reasons. The advertising’s goal? Convince Canadians that driving while high isn’t a super smart idea. The videos, shot by the Perlorian Brothers and envisioned by McCann Canada, focus on that negligible difference between being “barely high” and plain old-fashioned stoned.

“When I’m high, I can’t stop laughing,” starts the funniest of the ads, titled Giggles. “When I’m barely high, I just giggle now and then.”

Kudos to the team behind this one. As Fast Company notes, we’ve been conditioned from anti-drunk driving PSAs to expect scare tactics and fearmongering. Such strategies can dissuade us from such aberrant behavior.

However, treating people like adults triggers a more effective persuasion. Because when I watch these videos, I recognize how accurate they are. These ads convince me by reinforcing behavioral patterns I already know about myself—i.e. the difference in brain patterns between “barely high” and “high.” Anyone who smokes weed long enough understands it, too. It doesn’t hurt the videos make you laugh, too.

Recent research also demonstrates how important such PSAs are in this “honeymoon” phase of the legalization era. According to a study conducted by AAA, nearly 15 million Americans got behind the wheel of a car within an hour of smoking weed in the last 30 days. What’s more? About half of marijuana users believe they can drive safely while stoned, one poll finds. So yes it’s probably more important than ever to educate people on the dangers of stoned driving.

You can watch the rest of the PSAs here.

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