Marijuana tech company Weedmaps released a satirical ad on Monday about a man dressed as broccoli who is going through an identity crisis because people have come to associate the vegetable with cannabis.
The ad is a commentary on the censorship that marijuana companies continue to face on social media and mainstream advertising, forcing people to use emojis like broccoli, maple leaves and literal pots to talk about cannabis.
Weedmaps says the timing of the release is intentional, tied to the Super Bowl, which is one of the most coveted events for advertising opportunities that regularly feature alcohol brands. Much like when CBS rejected a cannabis-related ad in 2019, Weedmaps said it attempted to run its own ad this year, and “the network declined the request,” according to a press release.
“I’m an icon,” says the character named Brock Ollie in the ad. “But since we can’t speak publicly about cannabis, my likeness is being used as a safe substance.”
After going through a typical work day where people jokingly stereotype broccoli – such as assuming he’s getting high as he’s just going to a financial meeting in one scene – the character encounters a few other emoji icons that are sometimes used as substitutes for cannabis on social media.
“It’s taking over my life,” he complains. “Cannabis is here to stay and that’s great. But can we just call it that?
#SaveBrockOllie 🥦 https://t.co/l7I9QN15jO
— Weed Maps (@weedmaps) February 7, 2022
While leaf, broccoli and tree icons are often used to represent marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released a report that raised questions about its drug culture, with some dubious claims about the types of emoji substitutes she says to young people. use for illicit drugs.
The release of the Weedmaps ad is meant to coincide with the Super Bowl, but Weedmaps pointed out that advertising restrictions are widely enforced, limiting companies that operate legally in the growing number of states that have legalized cannabis.
“Despite three-quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see for change at the federal level, the industry continues to face barriers that impede competition in the legal market and stifle educational opportunities,” said Weedmaps CEO Chris. Béals, said.
“There is an irony that the biggest advertising night will feature an array of consumer brands in regulated industries, from alcoholic beverages to sports betting, but legal cannabis retailers, brands and businesses have been put in the spotlight. box,” he said.
The call to action at the end of the video is a simple statement: “The cannabis is here. Let’s talk about it.”
Beals said the advertising challenges facing the industry “are only part of a much bigger problem.”
“Objective and reliable cannabis information is integral to the continued growth of this industry,” he said. “The lack of such information and the current limitations that impede cannabis education continue to negatively impact other areas, such as medical research, and it’s time we started to address it.”
Anecdotally, marijuana brands and influencers often complain that their accounts are shut down by platforms like Instagram, even in cases where they don’t directly sell or promote the sale of cannabis.
Supporters also found it hypocritical that Twitter teamed up with a federal drug agency last year to promote drug treatment resources when users of the social media platform search for “marijuana” or certain other words. substance-related keywords, but no such health warnings appear with results for alcohol-related terms.
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Photo courtesy of YouTube/Weedmaps.