By: Alli McIlvain

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in both Colorado and Washington State, the United States has taken a big step towards broader legalization of the substance. There is a long history of marijuana usage and legalization that has resulted in more positive attitudes. Legalization in two states propelled the topic to the front of everyone’s mind for a short period, but the novelty has quickly diminished. However, with the nation’s first medical marijuana advertisement set to air on major networks this month, that will most likely change.

In the first two weeks of this month (March 2014) a few major networks will be airing an advertisement for medical marijuana. Some of these networks include Comedy Central, ESPN, MTV2, and Fox News. The ad is for, a website designed to give recommendations to patients about doctors that provide marijuana.

In the ad, a man is shown in an alley—in broad daylight—attempting to sell “sushi.” The language he uses is evocative of drug dealers seen in film and television. He’s a sketchy character, and the commercial questions: “You wouldn’t buy your sushi from this guy. So, why would you buy your marijuana from him?” This low-budget attempt at gaining consumer attention plays upon stereotypes and is more likely to offend people with its tone than it is to benefit

If this commercial is any indication of future marijuana-related commercials on major networks, it’s not a bright one. It’s not all that convincing, and when it comes to the brand promise of legitimacy, it misses the mark. However, this is the first marijuana commercial to air on major networks, with more likely to follow. As medical and recreational marijuana is still a new product category, there is still plenty of room for improvement.



Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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