Cannabis Company Launches Ad Campaign Inspired by Classic Anti-drug PSAs

A poster advertising 'Reefer Madness', an anti-drugs exploitation film, dealing with the pitfalls of marijuana smoking, directed by Louis J. Gasnier, 1936. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The anti-cannabis Public Service Announcements of the 80s and 90s were not only alarmist but also laughably bad. Thankfully we live in an era where there is less fear and more understanding about cannabis and its versatile applications.

In recognition of Substance Abuse Month during the month of October, California cultivator and lifestyle brand Sparx Cannabis is releasing a series of unique public service announcement videos that parody iconic anti-cannabis PSAs from the past. The first of five videos was released last week and is a play on the famous “Marijuana Anti-Drug Dog Commercial.” The Sparx Awareness Month version is called “Marijuana Anti-Schwag Dog Commercial.”

Cannabis was once stigmatized as a ‘gateway drug’ but is now seen by many as a cornerstone of a healthy life and incorporated into wellness routines. In fact, medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates when compared to states without medical cannabis laws.

The latest video of the series released is titled, “I Learned by Watching you.” The newest installment is based on the 1987 PDFA Anti-Drug Commercial wherein a father confronts his son about a cigar box full of cannabis flower, asking his son “who taught you how to do this stuff?” to which the son reveals that he learned it from his father.

In today’s age we are no longer parent-blaming when it comes to cannabis consumption, in fact, now some parents are turning toward cannabis as a stress reliever versus having a drink or using more harmful substances. According to a study, one in five marijuana users are parents and there has even been a surge in parenting-and-cannabis workshops.

As the global cannabis market continues to grow, there is a demand for unique marketing tactics to ensure cannabis brands stand out. California has the largest legal marijuana market in the world and is on track to reach $3.1 billion in sales in 2019, up from approximately $2.5 billion in 2018.

“When it comes to marketing in the cannabis industry, you have to get creative and this is exactly what we did with Sparx Awareness Month,” said Sparx Cannabis President Dr. Jared Helfant in a press release. “The PSA videos are hilarious takes on famous anti-drug commercials. These were created to not only bring attention to our high-quality Sparx Cannabis products, but to also have a lasting impact that resonates with today’s cannabis consumer.”

Dr. Helfant said the reasoning for creating Sparx Awareness Month is to bring unique and memorable originality to the brand through organic reach. In the wake of strict advertising regulations for cannabis companies, this is one of the ways the company feels will help fuel people’s interest. Through the utilization of old anti-cannabis PSAs, Sparx is also hoping their versions of the PSA commercials will help remove the age-old stigmas associated with smoking cannabis.

The remainder of the Sparx Awareness PSA videos are scheduled to be released weekly through Sparx Awareness Month:

  • October 15: Sparx 51 Commercial
  • October 22: Your Brain on Sparx Commercial
  • October 29: Be the Sparx Commercial

All videos in the series will be hosted on multiple platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, the Sparx Cannabis newsletter and on the Company’s website.


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