The New Normal and Cannabis Advertising

Legalisation and the shifting narrative around cannabis consumption has lead to some, not entirely unexpected, developments for cannabis businesses. The need for media production, content creation and advertising in cannabis is increasing rapidly.

Enter cannabis giant MedMed and their new campaign The New Normal.

Aside from the obvious, it’s an advertorial (more on that below), for all intents and purposes it is a neatly packaged historical overview of cannabis in the United States, with a core message, that despite the years of prohibition the cannabis plant is once again becoming part and parcel of the average person’s life.   

Directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Spike Jonze, the short film is narrated by actor and activist, Jesse Williams, and combines the use of powerful imagery and an emotive monologue  that tugs at the heartstrings.

Beginning with the historical prevalence of cannabis hemp farms in a pre-prohibition era, the narrative quickly moves on to highlight, in no uncertain terms, the disturbing aftermath of prohibition. Highlighting key moments, such as the reefer madness era and the ensuing propaganda campaigns, before moving on to the plants well established medicinal and wellness reputation. Finally the spot concludes with your average run-of-the-mill professional couple clutching groceries alongside a sleek MedMen bag.

It’s a very clever, and exceptionally well executed piece of content.

Williams, best known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy, is outspoken on racial issues in the US and is the youngest board member of the Advancement Project, now adding cannabis to his list of championing causes.

“It’s an option that’s part of a lifestyle; it’s not a threat.” He tells MedMen in an interview. “Something that drove people to the black market is now driving global markets.”

Cannabis prohibition has been harmful to communities on a global scale, yet it can be said that minority black and hispanic communities in the United States have suffered exponentially.

“The goal of this particular campaign is, very simply, to culturally normalize and demystify something that has been oversimplified and weaponised.” He says.

The film offers a great historical account of prohibition in just 121 seconds of media. In fact, if you were previously unfamiliar with it, you might just be inclined to dig a little deeper.

It’s good to acknowledge that this short film was bought and paid for by a company that sells cannabis. Even so, I personally don’t mind brands that try to capitalise on ‘hot topics’ if they’re also providing the community with a service of sorts.

The rise of advertorials and adfilms is inevitable in an arena where cannabis is now a commodity, but as we’re here now, let’s encourage more content that is, at the very least, helping to usher cannabis into our future.