Article by Andrew Littlefield, Ceros
Imagine turning on your TV to watch a football game.
You can probably guess the kinds of products you’ll see advertised: cars, chips, soda, insurance, and—of course—lots and lots of beer.
But what if you tuned into the big game and saw a celebrity in an ad for… marijuana?
It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. With eight states now legalizing recreational cannabis, the industry is quickly becoming a big business. And big business means big marketing.
While most of the debate has focused on how to regulate the substance itself, the question of how to regulate marijuana marketing is a bit…well, hazy.
A Brief History of Advertising Drugs
There’s no faster way to make drugs boring than to prattle on about their regulatory history, so let’s just do this in three sentences.
Weed was legal. Then it became very illegal—and unpopular—in the 1930s. Now it’s slowly becoming more legal and public opinion is warming up a bit.
There, now that that’s out of the way, we can move to the fun part: advertising regulations!
No wait, don’t go. I’m being serious.
If you’re a marketing nerd like me—and if you’re still reading at this point, I’m assuming you’ve at least watched a few seasons of Mad Men—alcohol and tobacco advertising is fascinating. It’s steeped in weird history and things that make no sense.