Ontario Releases Lighthearted “Barely High” Drugged Driving PSAs
In a new ad campaign, Ontario’s government opted to promote cannabis safety with humor, instead of fear.
Published on August 6, 2019

Sometimes, serious news is best delivered with a small dose of humor. And for government officials in Ontario, Canada, the push to curb drugged driving was the perfect opportunity to flex a few comedic bits.

Government of Ontario - Giggles from The Perlorian Brothers on Vimeo.

According to Fast Company, Ontario leaders are rolling out a new series of PSAs aimed at lightly encouraging recreational cannabis users to keep their car keys pocketed while smoking weed — even if the intoxication isn’t overwhelming.

But instead of chastising pot users for possessing poor judgement or impeded senses, the “Barely High” ad campaign takes a softer approach. Produced by the agency McCann Canada and directed by The Perlorian Brothers, the series of 15 second spots embrace the weird and wacky parts of pot consumption, from bouts of giggles to uncontrollable dancing. 

Government of Ontario - Dance from The Perlorian Brothers on Vimeo.

Government of Ontario - Toes from The Perlorian Brothers on Vimeo.

But for every bit of harmless fun that minor amounts of THC can inspire, the ads all end with the same refrain: “Barely high is still too high to drive.” In Canada and America, drugged driving has become a post-legalization focal point. Debates have raged over acceptable THC limits behind the wheel, roadside testing, and police enforcement of drugged driving. At this point, though, a lack of proper testing instruments, as well as disagreements about marijuana intoxication and impairment, has led to an arbitrary set of location-specific regulations to weed out stoned drivers.

Government of Ontario - Smokey Eyes from The Perlorian Brothers on Vimeo.

And so in their public service ad campaign, Ontario officials decided to avoid the grey area in the drugged driving debate altogether. Instead, they drive home the idea that we must totally separate our use of kush and cars — whether it’s been a whole joint of just a couple hits.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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