Colorado ad campaign uses giant rat cages to try to scare teens away from weed



When it comes to marketing and advertising, proper timing is always essential – and you want to strike while the iron is hot. As cannabis use becomes more and more mainstream, the topic of marijuana legalization is finally being raised in all regions of the country.
When Colorado and Washington became the first states to make weed legal for adults for recreational purposes, the eyes of cannabis critics nationwide focused on the two battleground states, desperately waiting and hoping for problems to arise.

But they haven’t.
In fact, Colorado has been raking in huge loads of weed-driven tax revenues all year long, to the tune of over $29.8 million.
The oft regurgitated warnings of an increase of dangerously stoned drivers on the Colorado roadways has so far been proven to be about as far from the truth as you can get. According to The Washington Post, through July, 2014 is shaping up to be the safest year on Colorado’s roads since 2002.
With every scare story about weed being systematically shot down in the grand cannabis experiments in Washington and Colorado, the prohibitionist crowd is already pulling their ace in the hole – the “What about the kids?” card.
But what is a prohibitionist to do when the parents have seen through their propaganda? Well, in Colorado, they have started marketing directly to the kids.
The message they are peddling is that teens who use marijuana are likely to harm their brain development, leading to lower IQs.
The tagline of their multifaceted ad campaign is “Don’t Be a Lab Rat”, and kicked off this week with TV spots aimed at Colorado teens with a mixed message of fear mongering blurbs from study results, along with an over-arching theme that “we just don’t know enough” about marijuana use by teens.
What we do know about teen marijuana use in Colorado, for a fact, is that it has gone down considerably since regulations began taking hold on the sale of medical and recreational pot.
Between 2009 and 2014, teen “30-day” marijuana use has dropped from 25% to 20%, according to findings in the Healthy Kids Colorado study just released by officials at the Department of Public Health and Environment.
That whole timing thing, it sure had to burn whatever straightedge marketing guru that just chose to blow $2,000,000 on silly movie trailers and YouTube videos to try to frighten pretty much the only demographic already showing declining weed use.
Apparently, the irony also went unrecognized when human sized rat cages were commissioned and paid for, to be placed at “teen hang outs”, select middle schools and high schools, and at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre during certain summer concerts.
Human-sized rat cage sits outside the Denver Public Library looking ridiculous

The funds for the campaign were provided primarily by the State Attorney General’s office, along with the City and County of Denver, and some private donors.
Two million bucks, that’s a lot of money, although it probably goes quick when you are constructing simulated rat cages, or jail cells…or awesome places for grown-ups to take stoned selfies!
Of course, it’s just shake in the bottom of the bag compared to the massive advertising dollars that pharmaceutical companies spend each year on marketing directly to us and our children – quite literally creating generations of chemically-dependent human lab rats in the process.