South Dakota takes lead from Nebraska slogan

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A discussion around the coffee machine this morning drew some laughs.

South Dakota’s new anti-drug slogan is “Meth. We’re on it.”

Its unveiling Monday naturally drew some instant criticism as “a colossal blunder.”

Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) held her ground, saying the campaign, which a Minneapolis ad agency created for nearly $449,000, underscores the importance of combating drug use in a state where twice as many 12- to 17-year-olds reported using meth compared with the national average.

She’s asking for more than $1 million in funding for the Department of Social Services to support meth treatment, and has launched a website, onmeth.com, to “get meth out of South Dakota."

A UC Berkely professor is skeptical.

“I can’t imagine this is what they intended to do; any good marketer would look at this and say: ‘Yeah, let’s not do that.' I’m sure South Dakota resident’s don’t like being laughed at. That’s what’s happening right now.”

We think the California professor misses the point — the campaign has people all over the country talking about an important issue, publicity worth much more than the half-million dollars invested.

Does that sound familiar?

“Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” had much the same effect, millions of dollars of free publicity on news and talk shows around the country, while making the point that our state does indeed have some great things to offer.

If you haven’t seen an example of the South Dakota ads, (like this), they make a good point. Meth is everyone’s problem.

We’ve spent millions of dollars and years spreading messages like “Drugs are bad,” with little effect.

Kudos to South Dakota for risking ridicule to get an important message across.

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