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Sockeye, a Portland ad company, takes on marijuana client

News Posted Aug 16 2016

Oregon residents might start seeing a new commercial for a cannabis soda, but you could easily mistake it for a casual beer commercial at first. Yes, an advertising firm in Portland began working with a marijuana business with a unique twist on marijuana edibles. The goal is to remove the 'stoner' stigma from cannabis products and advertising. Most cannabis users are normal adults looking relax after a long week of work, and now there is advertising to suit that market. The ad firm holds high profile clients like Oregon Health & Science University, the Portland Children's Museum, and the University of Oregon, so they were wary to work with cannabis businesses, but they believe in the products and companies they're working with. The commercial features friends and neighbors at a backyard barbeque listening to music and enjoying what appears to be a craft beer, but consumers shortly after find out that a cannabis soda is now locally available. 

The catchy jingle highlights a new type of soda, whose retro label and stubby brown bottle could easily be mistaken for the latest kombucha or craft beer. The ad doesn't feature pot leaves, green crosses or bikini-clad women, some of the more common images associated with marijuana.

Aimee Huff, an assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University who has studied marijuana advertising in Colorado, said Sockeye's ad targets consumers new to cannabis or people who don't want to smoke. She said the ad, which echoes alcohol advertising, is clearly an effort to give the product mainstream appeal

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