First, to be clear: We at Well Done do not endorse the use of illegal drugs.
But recreational marijuana use is now legal in more than a handful of states. And that means marketing. And so we’ve taken this opportunity on April 20—420 being slang for marijuana use—to share some of our favorite weed-related advertising.
First, though: The origins of “420” are, shall we say, a bit hazy. Some say it’s an old California police code for cannabis. Some think it’s the number of chemical compounds in marijuana. Others associate it with Grateful Dead mythology, claiming that the band requested room 420 at every hotel at which they stopped along the road. Or perhaps the answer is more sinister. April 20 is also the birthdate of Adolf Hitler, and 420 is alleged to refer to his insatiable lust for lung-blasting gravity bong rips.
Like many of the other rumors, this is also untrue. (Hitler preferred amphetamines.) The real origin of 420 dates back to the 1970s, when the cool kids at San Rafael High School in California made a habit of roasting a bone in front of the school’s Louis Pasteur statue every day at 4:20. From there it seeped into popular culture, and we’ve never looked back.
Today, 420 is ubiquitous wherever people crumble herb. And marijuana is finding its way into advertising. Here are a few of our favorite examples.
This ad from T-Mobile starring the unlikely paring of Snoop Dog (Lion?) and Martha Stewart is probably the most widely seen commercial of all time featuring obvious marijuana references. While not the greatest ad ever made, the fact that it even exists shows how much more culturally acceptable marijuana is now as compared with just a few years ago.
If there’s one thing just about every stoner can get on board with, it’s pizza rolls. Totino’s understands—which is why they plastered billboards all over Denver urging smokers to stock up on what many would consider to be food’s lowest common denominator.
Apparently, some people have been known to take a pull off a big joint of dank, only to notice some minor throat irritation. Rapper Wocka Flocka (Flame?) certainly has. In this oddly satisfying pitch for Pine Brothers cough drops, Wocka isn’t exactly subtle: These cough drops are made for blazing.
Given what people will do for a Klondike bar, one can only imagine what they might do for a Krondike bar.
This ad from Dr. Zodiak’s Moonrock is notable for being the first “serious” commercial to air on television promoting a brand of marijuana. Shockingly, the brand is also promoted by West Coast rapper Kurupt. Apparently, rappers like weed.
This is easily the best PSA for chronic ever made. The amount of weed you’d have to smoke to come up with this concept is staggering.