Marijuana

Marijuana: Health Department's TV Ads Take Dr. Seuss Approach to Pot

Last month, we told you about Good to Know Colorado, a new marijuana-education campaign launched by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

As we pointed out, much of the messaging on the Good to Know Colorado website was more about what is and isn't legal than it was about health.

The same can be said about public-service announcement that will begin rolling out on Colorado stations today and is on view below. However, the tone is much different, since the rules and regs at the heart of the campaign are rendered in sing-songy rhyme that emulates Dr. Seuss and is accompanied by similarly kid-friendly illustrations.

The initial images were mainly about where marijuana can and can't be used, in addition to its dangers. Here's one example....
...and another....
...and one more:
The same ideas are at play in the PSA, but a gentle-voiced narrator delivers them as if he's reading a bedtime story. Here's one unintentionally hilarious passage:
If you choose to use, don't drive high

Instead, just walk or skip or catch a ride

You can even frolic or stroll or run

Just remember, you've gotta be 21....
Another warns those who smoke that "public space, federal land and your car aren't the place."

Where should smokers go? Here's that section:
Stay at home

Keep it locked under a bed

And most importantly, keep it out of reach of the kids

For those underage, it's just not okay

Their brains are still growing, so keep it away
The tenor of the ad isn't wholly negative, as in the old your-brain-on-drugs days. But is the spot also condescending, patronizing and a prelude to tween-age and teenage eye-rolling? We'll know soon enough. A CDPHE release notes that the ads will start running today. Meanwhile, Good to Know Colorado is already being portrayed as a success. The department notes:
The campaign has generated 35 million impressions through radio, print, and digital advertising. This resulted in 220 news stories, 41,500 visits to GoodToKnowColorado.com and engaged more than 7,000 social media users. Good to Know television ads, running through March 22, continue the neighborly approach aimed at educating users and nonusers alike.
Look below to see the ad:

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts