Interview with anti-pot “Don’t be a Lab Rat” campaign ad director


Yesterday, we told you about a campaign to scare kids off of pot that uses a giant rat cage and the statement: “Don’t be a Lab Rat”. Never mind the fact that criminalizing cannabis and keeping it illegal will likely get those same kids put in a similar cage down at the county jail.
Mike Sukle, the advertising agency pro who worked with Colorado officials to develop a new anti-pot campaign, had a significant challenge on his hands. He wanted to warn teens away from marijuana use without engaging in the sort of hyperbole they’d likely reject. Hence, “Don’t Be a Lab Rat,” which presents controversial facts and then asks viewers the equivalent of “Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?”

The campaign, which launched this week, sports a slew of components, including a website, as well as interactive theater ads and TV public-service announcements (see both below) and rat cage installations that will pop up at various locations, including Denver Central Library and Red Rocks concerts such as Fall Out Boy and Paramore tonight and Jack White on August 20.
Sukle, founder and creative director for Sukle Advertising & Design, describes the concept’s genesis like so.
“We understood from the get-go that this would be an incredibly daunting effort,” notes Sukle, whose agency also came up with the “Don’t Be That Guy” ads for Denver Water — including the Vladimir Putin-like image that had to be pulled after last month’s deadly plane crash in the Ukraine. “Anywhere kids look now, the buzz is all about marijuana. So we did a study with kids across the state — sat down and had conversations with them about the substance: if they didn’t use it, if they did…and if so, how it fit into their lives. And then we talked about specific messaging and ideas.
Read more with Sukle over at the Denver Westword.