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Willie Nelson Pushes ‘Legalization’ in Super Bowl Ad

February 14, 2022 04:53 pm ET

Though cannabis has become increasingly popular and accepted among the general public, the plant remains a taboo subject in the advertising world. Thanks to some clever writing, however, cannabis nonetheless became a trending topic during this year’s Super Bowl week. Let’s break down two of the ads that helped fuel cannabis’ journey into the mainstream.

A couple of days before the big game, Weedmaps released a tongue-in-cheek ad addressing cannabis censorship. Accompanied by the hashtag #SaveBrockOllie, the ad starred a man dressed in a broccoli costume going through an identity crisis. The source of the crisis? Advertising and social media censorship that has led to broccoli, maple leaves, and pots being associated with cannabis.

Weedmaps’ #SaveBrockOllie ad was originally intended to be shown during the Super Bowl but was unfortunately rejected by NBC and limited to an online-only release. Nevertheless, the ad still managed to bring much-needed attention to the censorship faced by cannabis influencers and brands alike. While Weedmaps’ game day rejection was a big bummer, cannabis icon Willie Nelson’s ad more than made up for the disappointment.

In the ad, Nelson proudly states that he wants to legalize…comfort! Though the commercial is technically about Sketchers, Nelson’s parroting of common cannabis legalization arguments gives the ad a second meaning—not to mention that he wears a shirt with “LEGALIZE” across the front during the entire commercial. At one point in the ad, Nelson even alludes to his own cannabis advocacy efforts, saying he’s spent years trying to legalize “the one thing that can bring comfort to millions: Skechers.”

So, while we didn’t exactly get a full-fledged cannabis commercial during this year’s Super Bowl, cannabis still got its spotlight. As Weedmaps and Nelson showed, it is possible to talk about cannabis on mainstream channels, albeit in a very creative way. More importantly, it is now clear that cannabis is here to stay.

What did you think of the cannabis commercials during this year’s Super Bowl week? Do you see cannabis commercials becoming more common in the near future? Let us know in the comments!

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