The Marketing of Cannabis


Can you remember the bear?  That bear?  “Follow the bear”?  Have I lost you already?  Older readers may be aware of a certain advert that portrayed a rather groovy looking bear that promoted a certain alcoholic drink.  It was huge at the time, just as big as Jack Dee’s “Widget” campaign for John Smith’s bitter… remember that one?  Please don’t make me sing the song as it was the literal definition of an earworm.  Oh ok, it went like this:

“Widget, it’s got a widget, a lovely widget, a widget it has got…”

You had to be there I think.  It was catchy, we all sang it.  It was rumoured that it was going to replace God Save The Queen as the national anthem.

Ok, another advert?  How about the cigar ads?  Cult classics such as Panama Cigars –  “Happiness is a cigar called Panama” – or Hamlet, I don’t know, shows it didn’t work on me.  The campaign depicted an arduous task that was made all the better for having a nice cigar.  Bill Clinton of course went on to take this concept literally.  An obvious gag you’ll agree, but I couldn’t leave it hanging – ironically; that’s what he said too.  Moving on.

Why am I getting nostalgic on you?  Why the halcyon look at yesteryear?  I bet I drink Carling Black Label?  Peter Kay and his infamous set of John Smith ads?  The list of good advertising campaigns is as endless as the liver transplant list.

Think of these ads in a different way though, imagine cocaine was being pushed by the nations favourite comedians, or a cosy bear was peddling heroin; follow the bear and shoot up?  Just doesn’t cut the mustard really does it?  Logically and laterally; there is no real difference between attaching a fancy strap line and gimmicks to these substances over alcohol and tobacco, it’s fundamentally still pushing drugs.  So why is one allowed but the other is simply shocking to conceive?  Although, I must admit, I think an LSD ad campaign would be something to behold!  Imagine the notion of an LSD Unicorn as national logo?  In fact, I bagsy that idea, copyright, all rights reserved to Outlaw!