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Anti-Pot "Don't Be a Lab Rat" Campaign Uses Disputed Facts That Might Be True

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A cage that's part of the "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign. More photos plus videos below.
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?"

Continue for more details from Sukle, plus additional photos and videos.

See also: Videos: "Drive High, Get a DUI" Campaign Uses a (Mostly) Lighter Touch to Fight Stoned Driving

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An image from the Don't Be a Lab Rat website.
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.

"The campaign that's up now isn't something we took to the kids," he acknowledges. "It resulted from talking with them. And the thing that was most important to them was the harm it does to their brain. They were surprised by that. They see their brains as a really important element to who they are and they want to protect that."

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Additionally, Sukle goes on, "the kids wanted the facts. One kid was like, 'Don't sugar-coat anything for us. Don't come out and try to scare us. We want facts.' So we looked into the research, the studies that were done. And the campaign really just presents those studies to kids."

Sukle concedes that "the whole science of developing brains and the effects marijuana has is in its infancy. While there's a pretty good set of research, a lot of people dispute it. They don't believe it. So we wanted to be very honest and straight-forward -- to say, 'Here's a study, people dispute it, but do you really want to take that chance? Don't be a lab rat. People are going to be watching you to either prove or disprove these studies.'"

Continue for more about the "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign, including two videos.



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119 comments
ibundangbear
ibundangbear

NOT IN MY STATE. While I oppose underage rec use, the dehumanizing campaign and simply blatantly incorrect statistics are going to have no impact on teen cannabis use, which is already down in Colorado. I see this campaign as an underhanded attempt to also target adult users and directly undermine not only rigorous scientific study, but also the very democratic process us Coloradans hold in highest esteem. #LabRat

Matthew Allman
Matthew Allman

Aren't we all part of a big social experiment? With the "Monsanto Protection Act," we cannot sue them for anything that goes wrong via GMO's, new pesticides, etc...causing birth defects, ADD, ADHD, etc... Furthermore the factories on the side of the highways are billowing all sorts of mystery chemicals into the air for all to breath! We are now finding clear links between "human caused" illness from environmental factors, and there are many more. Lastly, we have the highest rates of children on pharmaceutical drugs with side effects that include death.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

We have been lab rats for years in the great failed social experiment of prohibition.  The data are in.

Max Padilla
Max Padilla

There are more lies about pot then the truth. This campaign is a perfect example

Travis Santoro
Travis Santoro

Paid for by proceeds of pharmaceutical lawsuits??! So part of a lawsuit was for big pharm to market a terror campaign consisting only of subjunctive maybes to push kids away from a plant (their biggest competitor) hmmm not surprised a alcohol profiteer was in charge of it.

Katie Schmoker
Katie Schmoker

This upsets me. It sets back those of us fighting for society to view mental illness as a disease rather than something someone self-induces or goes through and should be terrified of. One sign read something about the connection between marijuana and schizophrenia, and research finds that marijuana triggers schizophrenia IF the gene is already present. Those who are affected with this awful degenerative disease should be treated, not demonized and stigmatized by society. We don't condemn those with Alzheimer's....

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

"Don't be a Lab Rat" Created by your Parents who tried everything once, and their Parents who tried everything once, twice if they liked it

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

The 2014 remake of "Reefer Madness..."

Evan Rude
Evan Rude

"Legal pot might make America's kids stupider, researchers say." That's an actual quote from their website. Stupider, isn't a even a word.

Greg Jabuki DeRuckus
Greg Jabuki DeRuckus

More horrible substance use education/propaganda. fear mongering results it people calling bullshit on all of it. When will we give real education a chance for people to make their own informed life decisions.

Idiocy
Idiocy

You don't need a study....any drug has positives and negatives and young people should be especially cautious about overdoing anything. Once you're old, who cares? Moderation in all things if you can do it.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Prohibition:  A social experiment where Americans finally objected to being the lab rats for the FAILED social experiment of prohibition.

In fairness, the private prison industry loved the failed experiment. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

I must apologize for my crankiness, I'm very embarrassed that I live in my mothers basement and I cant' get young boys back to the house anymore.

reasonableperson
reasonableperson

Who is the idiot who decided to promote a anti pot campaign by presenting information that "may or may not" be true.  And you think developing brains are going to be convinced by that? Maybe the money for the ads should be put into understanding adolescent psychology first.  I can't believe the state is wasting money this way. 


Too bad they didn't present the facts of alcohol intoxication, huffing etc. which are well known and even more avaialb.e

Che Weller
Che Weller

Dont put yourself in a cage.... let us do that for you.

Nick Jones
Nick Jones

No, I don't choose fear as an agent to help kids understand different issues. I choose education and conversation.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

I think its not as lame as the usual stuff. I do like the fried egg /your brain on drugs. Kids are smoking and how much did this cost June and Ward,?

Susan Donlan Roy
Susan Donlan Roy

My friend works with hs age teens who have had a drug-related psychotic break. Unfortunately, pot is the most common (LSD second) cause of these psychotic "breaks." Kids try pot several times and don't feel high, so they go all out. The area of the brain that is affected, is not fully developed and they have a psychiatric break. From what she said, females brains are fully developed by 19-20, males 23. Of course there's always that one stoner who flies through hs with straight A's in all AP classes.

Nino LeeLee
Nino LeeLee

I don't care what anyone tries to argue.... marijuana doesn't destroy your brain cells! If you don't do anything but smoke weed than of course your brain cells are gonna go. Same for a person that sits behind a tv all day, they are loosing brain cells because they aren't thinking for themselves. As long as you make the time to learn something everyday you will be a pot-head smokin' genius i guarantee!

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Children should not use marijuana recreationally, however, why is the government continuing to spend tax dollars on associating marijuana users with cages?  ...is it because they still think that's where marijuana users belong?


Kathleen Chippi responded brilliantly to this campaign on another article...wish I could find her comment...

Jason Montoya
Jason Montoya

You make a teenager do something by telling them not to do it. So when teenage pot usage rises, it's on your hands Dickenlooper...yea, I said it

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Both sides of the debate overstate their positions.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... the researchers smoked too much pot during their studies.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

A most excellent point.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@muhutdafuga In a Democracy, marijuana and other drugs remain illegal because THE PEOPLE want them to be.


hth.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay So you're saying you are a conservative.

brmomich
brmomich

Your friend is an idiot and so are you for believing your idiot friend. Congratulations moron, you've just confirmed you've never smoked pot. Now the rest of us can go on with our lives as if you don't matter. Oh I forgot, you already don't matter.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@GuestWho


Since A64, and the pimps and voters who supported it, did not repeal a single felony statute against marijuana in Colorado, did not repeal a single misdemeanor statute against marijuana in Colorado, deliberately excluded everyone under 21 from ANY legal access to rec. pot -- under penalty of law -- explicitly declared that private sales between consenting adults shall REMAIN ILLEGAL, declared that DUI marijuana shall REMAIN ILLEGAL, and allowed simple possession of only 1 pathetic ounce ...


... it's quite clear that THE VOTERS and Authors of A64 want a plethora of CAGES kept available for "bad" marijuana users.



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@GuestWho Thanks for posting, GuestWho. We're going to share your observations in an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Reverse psychology is a long tradition, Jason. Thanks for posting.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

... so telling teens to not clean their rooms gets them to clean up?



muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay That would be very damning for the pro pot crowd position, as bad as the research is.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@muhutdafuga ... so now you believe the "may be harmful" without actual proof propaganda?

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@SpottedDick @muhutdafuga Wrong.  Representatives wrote the law and they are more loyal to those that bribe them....I mean give them money....hell, it's the same corruption.  Big money didn't want competition for their new "nylon" product.

It was a ballot initiative that took it out of the hands of the bought and sold representatives and put it in the hands of the people.  Come on, you know that.  Let's have some truth!

brmomich
brmomich

@SpottedDick @GuestWho 

It looks to me like anyone who wants pot can get it legally in Colorado, you moron. I guess if you had the money and influence you obviously don't have, you'd have done better, but you didn't. Now you can crawl back in the hole you came from. You're welcome!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@muhutdafuga


Would you believe any research that was negative about marijuana, no matter who performed it?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@muhutdafuga ... Citizen's Initiatives aren't controlled by venal politicians, the CITIZENS who wrote and promoted that prohibitionist piece of shit A64 and the clueless stoners who voted for it EXPLICITLY declared they wanted CRIMINAL PROHIBITION to continue!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@brmomich "It looks to me like anyone who wants pot can get it legally in Colorado, you moron."


Another IGNORANT CUNT who didn't read, much less comprehend what A64 proposed.


Hey fucktard, A64 explicitly DENIES ANY LEGAL ACCESS to ANY rec. pot for EVERYONE under 21 years old. Not a single gram, not a single plant.


No go fuck yourself with a broken bottle, you stump-stupid stammering stoner.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@muhutdafuga Should pot be labeled with all the potential harms and dangers so that a choice can be made by the users, many of whom are completely ignorant as you well know?

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