Weedmaps Tackles Cannabis Marketing Censorship with Digital Spot Ahead of Advertising’s Biggest Night of the Year
Leading cannabis marketplace introduces the world to ‘Brock Ollie,’ a personified head of broccoli whose identity is up in smoke due to cannabis marketing restrictions
WM Technology, Inc. and Weedmaps, the company’s leading commerce-driven marketplace and premier destination for cannabis consumers, debuted a digital commercial spot timed to television’s most-watched event of the year, which addresses the current advertising restrictions imposed on legal cannabis businesses and brands for marketing their products and services.
“Despite three quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see in support for change at the federal level, the industry continues to face roadblocks that inhibit competition in the legal market and stifle opportunities to educate”
Weedmaps’ digital ad personifies cannabis as a character named Brock Ollie. Resembling a head of broccoli, the vegetable emoji commonly used as a visual representation of cannabis in marketing, the 30-second spot provides viewers with insight into a day in the life of Brock Ollie, whose superfood identity is up in smoke as he is repeatedly mistaken for cannabis. The advertisement is a humoristic take on the challenges imposed on the broader industry, which include social media censorship and a lack of consistent advertising regulations, thus restricting cannabis-related spots during nationally televised events, like the big game. Brock Ollie shines a light on the marketing hurdles that continue to impede industry growth and consumer education as well as make space for the existing stigma associated with cannabis to thrive.
“Despite three quarters of the country having legalized cannabis and the bipartisan enthusiasm we continue to see in support for change at the federal level, the industry continues to face roadblocks that inhibit competition in the legal market and stifle opportunities to educate,” said Chris Beals, chief executive officer of Weedmaps. “There’s an irony in the fact that the biggest night for advertising will feature an array of consumer brands in regulated industries, from beverage alcohol to sports betting, yet legal cannabis retailers, brands and businesses have been boxed out.”
Although acceptance around cannabis consumption continues to grow, with nearly three out of every four (72%1) cannabis consumers saying that everyone or almost everyone knows they consume cannabis, fewer than half (49%2) of cannabis consumers say they are experts or proficient when it comes to cannabis knowledge. Despite consumer appetite and demand for more information, industry players continue to face roadblocks as they navigate not only how to reach consumers, but also how to empower them to make informed purchasing decisions.
“Advertising restrictions are simply one part of a much larger issue,” Beals continued. “Objective and reliable information about cannabis is integral to the sustained growth of this industry. The deficiency of such information and the current limitations that hinder cannabis education continue to negatively impact other areas, such as medical research, and it’s time we begin to address them.”
Weedmaps’ ad encourages viewers to consider why it’s necessary for the cannabis plant to be replaced with items such as broccoli, trees, maple leaves, clouds, and other references in order to navigate the restrictions encountered in the marketing and advertising space. The message is best summarized by the call to action at the end of the spot; “Cannabis is here. Let’s talk about it.”