The $1.4 million campaign, featuring people saying, “Meth, I’m on it,” in coffee shops, and on a football field, paid nearly $500,000 to Broadhead Co., the Minnesota-based ad agency that created the tagline.
“We didn’t want this to look like every other anti-drug campaign,” said Laurie Gill, the secretary for the Department of Social Services, which oversaw the campaign.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, described the state’s methamphetamine epidemic in a video announcing the campaign rollout, saying the problem was “growing at an alarming rate.”
“This is our problem, and together, we need to get on it,” she said. “It is filling our jails and prisons, clogging our court systems, and stretching our drug treatment capacity while destroying people and their families.”
Some users online were not as enthusiastic about the campaign as Noem.
One Twitter user asked if South Dakota was actually advertising the drug as opposed to deterring its use.
“Is South Dakota trying to advertise meth?” the post read.
“The only way to explain South Dakota’s new anti-Meth ads is that everyone involved in their creation is on meth,” wrote another.
“Surprising anti-meth campaign in South Dakota. With the theme “Meth. I’m on it,” what could go wrong?” one post read.
Noem defended the campaign, saying “Hey Twitter, the whole point of this ad campaign is to raise awareness. So I think that’s working…”
The campaign is expected to run through May and include a website, billboards and television. Gill justified the price paid to Broadhead Co., by saying meth addiction in her state is a “huge issue.”
The state has seen an uptick in meth use by 12- to 17-year-olds in the last year that is double the national average. From 2014 to 2018, the number of people in the state seeking treatment for meth addiction has doubled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.