A United States twitter campaign to encourage cannabis users not to drive high has backfired – because it’s so cool. In the clip, produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a very cool-looking animated cheetah is driving a sportscar and smoking a joint. The stoned cheetah is pulled over by the law, while the narrator intones:
“The Tanzanian cheetah is known for its speed and agility, not its common sense,” the narrator in the federal ad says. “Here we see the Tanzanian cheetah driving high. Now he’s getting a DUI from the cheetah police, will have to pay up to 10,000 Cheetah dollars and will probably end up in cheetah jail.”
The world’s fastest land animal hardly fits the stereotype of a cannabis consumer that the government has historically played into. And as some Twitter users pointed out, the ad makes the cheetah look confusingly cool as he’s breaking the law.
While advocates and prohibitionists alike share an interest in preventing impaired driving, the PSA has left some wondering why, of all potential stand-ins for an impaired driver, it went with an animated Tanzanian cheetah.
The spot, which was released last year but is being recirculated this season through promoted Twitter posts, is just one example of the government having the right intention—deterring driving while high—but delivering that message in a way that invites some creative criticism.
Among the comments on Twitter: “I don’t even smoke weed or drive, but this made me want to”, “Why did they make the cheetah so cool?”, “That cheetah is as cool as fuck”!