Lifesaving Society provides concrete evidence of the dangers of getting stoned on the water

Who: The Lifesaving Society and lg2. Established as The Swimmers’ Life Saving Society in the late 1800s, the Lifesaving Society provides water safety education. Lg2 has been its agency partner for more than 10 years.

What: “Stone,” a new Quebec PSA that warns of the dangers of drug and alcohol use on the water. It’s specifically aimed at young adults 18-24, for whom drug and alcohol use can play a significant role in death by drowning.

When & Where: The pro bono campaign is running across donated media on TV, complemented by Facebook and Instagram. It is running through Sept. 6.

Why: The Lifesaving Society recorded 95 deaths by drowning in Quebec in 2020, up sharply from 58 the previous year. It says that drug and alcohol use are a factor in one-third of the province’s drownings each year.

The organization’s most recent Quebec Drowning Report, encompassing the period from 2008 to 2017, reported an average of 82 deaths by drowning, with alcohol use a factor in 37% of deaths among people 15-34 (cannabis use wasn’t reflected in the data since it didn’t become legal in Canada until 2018).

How: The eerily striking spot takes viewers underwater, where statues of young adults who have been using cannabis and subsequently drowned are resting on the bottom. The muffled sound of music can be heard throughout the 30-second spot, which concludes with a statue of a young person slowly sinking from a boat while holding a joint, accompanied by the super “When you’re stoned, your judgement sinks.”

And we quote: “It’s the first time the Lifesaving Society has addressed young people and talked about drug use since [cannabis was legalized in Canada]. One out of three drownings involving young people are linked to alcohol and drug consumption. Given this, we had to tackle the issue with an unexpected tone and visual look that would catch their attention.” — Frédéric Tremblay, creative director, lg2

Chris Powell