Social Campaign For THC-Spiked Drink Cleverly Treads The Line On Paid Weed Ad Rules

A cannabis-infused drink called Cann may have created a new ad genre—ASMR for the eyes—with a social campaign that features helium balloons floating skyward, a guy being tickled with ostrich feathers and a woman running her hands through thick shag carpeting.

The mood-elevating posts “allude to the product’s benefits,” said Sarah Betts, creative director at agency Red Antler, with “visceral, dreamy imagery, coupled with mysterious copy.”

One thing missing in the intentionally cryptic work: any mention of the brand name or shots of the product, which flies in the face of traditional marketing. But there’s a good reason for the subterfuge.

The lack of branding means that Cann has been able to buy media on Instagram, using only the tagline, “The Warm & Fizzies,” at a time when major social platforms still don’t allow call-to-action ads for weed products.

To comply with regulations (weed remains federally illegal), Cann had to “hack” the digital ad ecosystem, according to Blair Ballard, the brand’s head of strategy.

The fastest growing cannabis category

Current rules “don’t allow us to lead with the clean, clear sales propositions that people are used to seeing nowadays,” she said. “To make an ad that was compliant, we had to steer far away from that and be extremely vague about what we’re selling.”

Instead, the brand and its agency tried to get their point across via “the warmest, fuzziest scenarios we could think of,” Betts told Adweek. “The biggest creative challenge was adequately illustrating Cann’s effects.”

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