South Carolina-based Palmetto Harmony is pushing forward cannabis advertising by running the first commercial for cannabis-based products to appear on nationally syndicated networks. The commercial is airing on 12 national networks including CBS, ABC, NBC, Oxygen, Lifetime Movies, and BBC-America.
Palmetto Harmony offers a range of CBD oil and cannabis-based products, which the commercial promotes as wellness products. The commercial, airing in 71 different cities, contains no specific mention of CBD oil or cannabis.
Janel Ralph, CEO of Palmetto Harmony, said the response has been “crazy, with a lot of positive feedback.”
“We had to be very careful in how we presented the products,” Ralph said. “Just like with the rules for pharmaceutical ads, there were certain things we couldn’t say and we had to be conservative.”
So far, she said the company hasn’t received any backlash or negative feedback. Her company plans to run a holiday-themed ad on 42 national channels starting December 1.
Ralph said she hopes the commercial opens the door to advertising for the cannabis industry. “We all have to be very careful in how we present ourselves. Hemp is not yet regulated by the FDA as a food or dietary supplement, which is the end goal. We can’t go making any medical claims,” Ralph said.
As competition heats up with legalization, U.S. cannabis businesses must determine how to stand out while advertising is still legally restricted in TV, radio, print, email marketing, and direct mailers.
In September, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air became the first U.S.-based air carrier to accept advertising from a cannabis dispensary, the LA Times reported.
Acres Cannabis, a marijuana dispensary located a few blocks off of the Las Vegas strip, ran ads in Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker.
While airline-based ads show potential, ground transportation is taking a step back. In San Francisco, the public transit board voted to ban marijuana advertising on its buses, trains and shelters.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles agency Sandwich Video aimed to go viral with an online-only SNL-style video for Briteside, a cannabis delivery service in Oregon.
The video, hosted on YouTube and Briteside’s website, was created in the style of a typical pharmaceutical industry ad. AdWeek reported that the “90-second video, like SNL skits that have come before it, mimics now-infamous pharma ads in its look, tone and voiceover.” The ad shows a 30-something woman treating her anxiety with cannabis.