Five Questionable Pot Ads

August 7th, 2013

Illinois last week became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington allow recreational use and Uruguay volunteered to become the legal-weed guinea pig for nations. With all these entities opening up a new market, there’s going to be advertising. And some of that advertising will be misleading. Here are five pot ads we found that weren’t entirely forthcoming.

1. Marijuana Policy Product’s NASCAR ad

Doing the dishes under the influence of weed is less harmful than doing the dishes drunk, argues this stock-footage pro-pot ad that was slated to run during a NASCAR event in Indianapolis in July. The ad was pulled after anti-drug groups pointed out that marijuana was illegal in Indiana, and repeatedly advertising an illegal drug at a family event was maybe not a great idea. We’ll also point out that while smoked marijuana contains no calories, studies of healthy people who inhaled Cannabis showed that they consumed more calories, especially high-fat and sweet snacks. So that no-calorie claim comes with a munchie caveat. Also inhaling smoke of any kind is probably not great for your health.

2. clubfbi.com’s Anti Anti-Marijuana Ad
johnlennon
Using dead people in advertisements as an appeal to authority – check!

3. Global Organic Medicine’s Storefront Mural
sostupid
This one is just breathtaking in its ill-conception and stupidity. We don’t think (hope?) this is the intention, but a pot shop that uses the Muppet Babies and Alice in Wonderland in its ad sure seems like it’s targeting children.

4. Prohibition Brands TV spot

A couple of issues in this TV ad that ran in Washington State.

  • While Washington State and Colorado legalized marijuana, it’s still an illegal drug in the eyes of the U.S. federal government. It’s a tricky issue. Claiming that the two states created the first “legal marijuana markets in the entire world” could be misleading because it’s not quite true.
  • We don’t think he’s a real sheriff.
  • There’s a lot of fine print on this ad that contains essential information. But a tip of the cap for at least making it legible.

5. Norml.org’s Mayor Bloomberg ad
Bloomberg_enjoyed_it

While NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg really did say that, he has repeatedly spoken on the record against marijuana legalization. It may be a little misleading to use the image of Mayor Bloomberg in a pro-pot ad, when Bloomberg is an anti-pot politician.

For more on the pros and cons of medicinal marijuana, the National Cancer Institute has a strong overview of cannabis. For more on the laws and regulations surrounding pot advertising, click here.

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Some of the advertising industry’s most prolific product endorsers. The estates of such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Albert Einstein, Fred Astaire, and countless others generated well over $2.0 billion in endorsement revenue as recently as 2009, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Nice work if you can get it

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