Will Marijuana Advertising Restrictions Produce a More Honest Message?

Marijuana is a restricted industry, meaning that regulations prevent it from being advertised on normal and highly viewed media platforms like television. Other examples of restricted industries are sectors like adult entertainment, an industry that most parents would not want their children to be conscious of until they are older. Since marijuana advertising is only being seen by people that have access to top level clearance, advertising is often much more loose, facetious and straight honest than mainstream advertising.

Pharmaceutical advertisements are on TV all of the time for anyone to see featuring average people living glorious happy lives and then the ad speeds through all of the wild side-effects that can actually make people miserable. It’s an example of an accepted form of mainstream advertising obviously trying to skew its message so viewers only really see the positive side, while downplaying the negatives. Watch this new marijuana advertisement for Briteside, a marijuana delivery service out of Oregon, and see how the restricted industry offers a humorous but also honest perspective on cannabis.

Oregon start-up Briteside enlisted a Los Angeles advertising agency to create some digital marketing for its new delivery service, which serves various dispensaries and provides their customers a means to order and have cannabis products delivered directly to their home.

But the online ad is also a pitch-perfect parody of all those relentless commercials for pharmaceutical products we’ve all been exposed and subjected to over the years.

It starts with a young suburbanite frowning as she deals with life’s daily woes — issues like stress, bills and muscle pain.

Then comes a soothing voiceover: “Sometimes you need to stop worrying and take a deep breath. Sometimes, you need cannabis.”

The ad’s music becomes upbeat as the protagonist makes her online order.

“Choose the experience you want and we’ll send you the dankest herb,” the voiceover continues, as the women’s manically happy response to her delivery makes the Briteside delivery worker look a bit worried.

The video then switches to stereotypical images of peaceful happiness as the voiceover goes into that mile-a-minute reading of disclaimers typical in pharmaceutical ads.

And it adds that the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “may also induce feelings of existential well-being and relentless optimism.”

AdWeek reported that the folks behind the ad at L.A.-based Sandwich Video pored over pharmaceutical ads on YouTube to get just the right tone for their parody.

“We didn’t want this to come across as a really well-produced joke that wasn’t to be taken seriously,” agency founder Adam Lisagor told the marketing trade publication. “If people thought they were just watching a funny video and didn’t think it was a real product, that would be the worst thing to happen.”


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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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