Cannabis Brand Stok'd Wiggles Around Restrictive Ad Laws With Clever Campaign

It promotes nearby businesses but mentions the Stok'd name

Cannabis advertising laws vary by state and country; by and large, they remain challenging. It's hard to promote a product when you can't actually show it. In Canada, where most cannabis sales are legal, retailers can't display products or discuss implied effects.

So, as a workaround, Angry Butterfly and Canadian dispensary Stok'd created ads filled with cannabis references. But the ads ostensibly promote businesses located "Next to Stok'd"—or at any rate, nearby—rather than the weed brand itself.

"Stok'd needed help to reach their consumers in a very restricted environment," says Erin Kawalecki, partner and chief creative officer at Angry Butterfly. "Our client has strong relationships with their neighbors, so that made it much easier to get them on board. They think it's a lot of fun. And more business to the neighboring stores is a good thing for everyone."

One ad promotes a NuNail, guaranteed to give consumers "the dopest nails in town," closing with a storefront shot of the salon and Stok'd.

Stok'd + NuNail

"What came first, the flower or the seed," ponders the owner of Cliffside Bookstore.

Stok'd + Cliffside Bookstore

Even Stok'd's electrician got in on the fun, promoting his "lit" services with Stok'd logos and merch in the background.

Stok'd + Spectrum Electrical

The campaign ran last month across paid/sponsored posts and prerolls and evening radio.

"We were hopeful but nervous until we saw it out in the world,"  Kawalecki tells Muse. "This was our way of getting around those regs. And much to our surprise and relief, not one ad was rejected when trafficked. We wanted to make sure we respected each store's personality, while still using lots of cannabis innuendo to get our message across!"

Stok'd Case Study

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