Cannabis brand tackles the clichéd tropes of Big Pharma ads plus...5 more campaigns that leverage parody.

A snapshot look at a trending campaign with a curated pick of past campaigns that use a similar creative approach in some way.

Cannabis brand tackles the clichéd tropes of Big Pharma ads plus...5 more campaigns that leverage parody.

Show-Me Organics—operator of leading Missouri cannabis brands – introduced an entertaining new ad campaign with a powerful call to action that mimics the clichéd tropes of pharmaceutical advertising and co-opts the all-too-familiar line “Ask Your Doctor” to start a deeper conversation about cannabis.

By doing so, the campaign cleverly poses stark questions to make viewers question why opioids can still be widely prescribed while cannabis can’t even be mentioned in advertising. The commercial was rejected by all major local broadcast networks and is instead running in cinema and streaming on digital channels to coincide with Opioid Awareness Month which falls in September. “It feels like the right time to deliver this message,” said Show-Me Organics CEO Boston Dickerson. “Because awareness of our opioid epidemic has become prevalent thanks to government-sponsored campaigns, but those stop short of discussing cannabis as a safer alternative because it’s still federally prohibited.”

Here are five more campaigns that leverage parody to great effect:

Marmite Scan | Marmite | adam&eveDDB | 2023

Parody the familiar baby gender reveal moment to make it about whether they like Marmite or not.  Spoofing the gender reveal trend this campaign shows expectant parents celebrating not the gender of their babies, but rather their taste for Marmite. Every parent-to-be wants to know what they’re having. Not boy or girl. But a Marmite lover or a hater. Introducing Marmite Baby Scan - a nationwide experiment using 4D scanning to find out whether you’re expecting a lover or hater.

Please Don't Travel Under The Social Influence | Tourism NZ | Yarn | 2021

Parody the cliche of influencer-style travel photos and challenge travellers to properly explore New Zealand instead. Embracing New Zealand’s dry Kiwi humour, our campaign was fronted by a fictitious social media ranger who set out to rescue wayward travellers from the clichés of New Zealand tourism and encourage them to ‘share something new’.

That Look From Popeyes | Popeyes | 2021

Parody Beyonce’s familiar-looking fashion line and step in to turn it into a big earner for Popeyes. They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery. So when Beyonce released a clothing line that looked a lot like US fast food chain Popeye’s uniform, the brand were quick to capitalise. As expected, Beyonce’s fashion line sold out quickly but Popeye’s were there to save the day. They sold their own uniforms to people who couldn’t get their hands on Beyonce’s garbs. People were effectively paying Popeyes to advertise for them. And they say there’s no such thing as free advertising! Popeyes made $30million from people buying the uniform to get ‘the Popeye look’! The media coverage that followed ensured everyone knew that Popeyes was as trendy as Beyonce with it trending on twitter during the Super Bowl week and earning $6.3 million in earned media.

I'm Drinking It For You | DB Export Extra Low Carb | Colenso BBDO

Flip the perspective of low-carb beer to encourage people to drink it for their loved ones. DB Export Extra Low Carb was launching into a crowded market where the advertising had become very rational. The messaging was all focused on percentages. 60% less carbs! 75% less carbs. So to stand out, the brand opted to not go down this route. Instead, the brand celebrated Valentine’s Day with an R&B ballad to low-carb beer. The fun campaign features a full-length song, ‘I’m Drinking It For You’, and a music video. The tongue-in-cheek earnest love song lists all the romantic things they can do for each other while holding a beer – drinking lower-carb beer being one of them. The quirky campaign was launched via music industry channels and media, thus enabling the campaign message to seep into New Zealand culture in a manner traditional low carb-related percentage advertising never could.

Nature's Closing Down Sale | Born Free Foundation | The Engine Group | 2021

Parody the world of Black Friday sales bargains to highlight the reductions in wild animal numbers. Created by agency Engine, this darkly comic ad campaign was timed to launch alongside Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Fronted by a larger-than-life salesman, he embraces the very worst of the language familiar to these sales events by using it highlight the “incredible reductions of all your favourite animals”, including tigers, leopards, rhinos and lions. Tigers: down; leopards: down; rhinos: not 70%, not 80%, but now up to 90% less.”, he says with excitement. The jarring parody hits home and the call to action for people to save more than money (during the sale season), by adopting an animal with Born Free—hits home.