Here's a PSA campaign that takes the idea of medium-as-message to a higher level.
Created for Uruguay's Association of Cannabis Studies, the out-of-home initiative features three posters printed on paper made from marijuana. Copy reminds the public about the dangers of operating a vehicle under the influence of pot, which Uruguay fully legalized for production and sale in 2013.
Each of the signs measures 5.6 feet high by 3 feet wide and carries the tagline, "If you smoked, don't drive." They sprouted just after Christmas in highly trafficked neighborhoods of Montevideo, and will stay on the streets for a few more weeks.
"We reasoned that if posters made out of pot gave you advice about safer driving, it was probably the most ideal way in which marijuana can actually be beneficial to someone while behind the wheel," says Juan Ciapessoni, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Electric Factory, which developed the campaign with outdoor ad firm JCDecaux.
Once the fibrous hemp was shredded, flattened and dried, the sheets were painstakingly hand-crafted, just as an artisan might create specialty papers from scraps of recycled material. A silk-screening process was used to apply the text. (Ciapessoni declined to reveal how much weed was used to create the posters, nor would he divulge its source.)
Sure, it's a gimmick to grab attention, but "the main objective of all of this is to make people understand how important is to be very responsible when driving," Ciapessoni says. "It was equally important for us to send a big message so that it will have meaningful social impact."
Oh, the signs are called "Potsters"—a pun that might be funnier if you're stoned. At least the work is less panicky than Colorado's drugged-driving PSAs from a few months back.
Note to vandals: If you're thinking of stealing the signs and, well, trying to smoke them—you're in for one huge bummer.
"It would be really funny, but not effective, because the process for producing the paper removed the psychoactive effect," says Ciapessoni. "So if someone smoked it, it would be like smoking a standard paper."
Client: Association of Cannabis Studies
Agency: The Electric Factory
Chief Creative Director: Juan Ciapessoni
Creative Directors: Federico Cibils & Gustavo Etchandy
Art Directors: Javier Gómez, Juan Diego Vispo
Producer: Milena Mariño
Film Production: The Electric Factory
Director: Piter Moreira
Executive Director: Federico Masini