Why is cannabis unadvertised? Weedmaps asks the question in a new ad spot that explores the various ways media platforms stifle conversations about cannabis and hide information from consumers.
In the United States, the medical use of cannabis is now legal in 37 states and recreational use in 18 states. Yet mainstream cannabis advertising is virtually untraceable.
Ironically denied advertising during the Super Bowl, Weedmaps’ new ad spot addresses advertising restrictions and bans on cannabis companies on social and advertising media.
The spot features an office worker named Brock Ollie, whose head resembles a head of broccoli, who spends his day being thrown at him with far-from-subtle references to represent cannabis. At the end of the day, he hangs out with his friends, Pot and Leaf, who know his ongoing struggle all too well.
“Despite three-quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see supporting change at the federal level, the industry continues to face roadblocks that inhibit competition in the legal market. and stifle educational opportunities,” said Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals.
“There’s an irony that advertising’s biggest night will feature an array of consumer brands across regulated industries, from alcoholic beverages to sports betting, as cannabis retailers, brands and companies legal have been set aside. »
Constraints above constraints
The legal, regulatory and business landscape of the cannabis industry is constantly changing, and advertising is no exception. The industry must play around with permits and restrictions at the federal, state, and local levels, with companies always having to stay on top of what is allowed and what is not.
According to Rebecca Larzik, brand marketing director of Weedmaps, some of these restrictions include censorship on social media platforms, where paid advertisements can be placed, and constraints on the placement of billboards. exteriors, including the requirement to obtain approval from the building owner.
“In order to overcome some of these challenges, brands often use things like the broccoli emoji as a visual representation of cannabis in their marketing materials because the actual plant is deemed inappropriate to showcase,” she said.
For Weedmaps, promoting creative and experiential advertising and branding initiatives like this will contribute to the legal and cultural acceptance of cannabis, ultimately enabling safe and legal access to this plant.
As Brock Ollie says in the ad, “The cannabis is here. It’s time to talk about it”.