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Weed Edibles Brand Spoofs Big Pharma in SNL-Style Ad

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Anyone who has suffered from tennis ankle, air guitar back, scrolling finger or bicycle seat butt can relate to a character named Randy Falcon, the star of a new ad campaign for cannabis brand Cheeba Chews.

Except those are fake ailments, with Falcon appearing as an accident-prone comedic narrator in a long-form video inspired by classic Saturday Night Live skits. 

The spoof targets Big Pharma commercials with a host of made-up symptoms—birdwatching neck, pickle jar-opening wrist—to introduce a product specifically designed for pain relief.

The delicate dance for Cheeba Chews—and all brands in the space—comes in making medical assertions about the product, which is verboten under marketing guidelines for cannabis. 

To walk that line, the brand chose a well-worn ad trope and mixed in a dose of wackiness, while aiming to get its point across about Joint Relief, a baked taffy that contains a cannabinoid cocktail of CBD, THC and CBC. While the marketing approach is not without precedent, it’s good for a laugh.

“We have a ton of restrictions on how we can position cannabis in regulated markets,” Eric Leslie, CMO of Cheeba Chews, told Adweek. “So with this product, we had to get reaaaaaal creative to make sure consumers understood the benefits without making explicit claims.”

Fun with Big Pharma

Working with its longtime agency, Denver-based independent shop Piggyback, the brand created a “goofy yet overly passionate” spokesman who’s definitely not a doctor, Leslie said.

“I’ve long wanted to spoof on the overdramatized pharma ads,” Leslie said. “And this particular product was the exact right one to execute the plan with.”

The 90-second spot details some ridiculous pretend issues and, in keeping with the source material, lists the side effects of taking Joint Relief, which may include “bitching way less” and not needing a wrist guard to catch a Frisbee.

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