The best Super Bowl ad ever
Sunday, February 3, 2019
You won't see the best Super Bowl ad because CBS refuses to run it. It's a commercial for medical marijuana from a cannabis company called Acreage Holdings. No doubt we will see an ad like this, somewhere, in the near future.
It should make you wonder how marijuana got so popular without advertising, because beer and potato chips seem to have to advertise all the time or their sales would drop.
"Oh," you might say, "that's because marijuana is addictive, and beer isn't."
Really? The facts would show just the opposite. As a matter of fact, wasn't the advertising campaign for some brand of chips "Bet you can't eat just one"? Isn't that the definition of addiction?
I know many alcoholics, but I've yet to meet a marijuana addict. Again, you might say, "You have met them, you just didn't know it."
Funny, when you meet an alcoholic, you know it. When they T-bone your car, when they show up for work every now and then, when they wake up in the wrong bedroom or in jail, when they make the plane return to the airport by trying to open the cabin doors. You can tell by the divorces, by the fetal alcohol syndrome and by the thousand other little "tells."
Of course, not every drinker is an alcoholic. But when you think of the carnage wrought by alcohol each year, it's hard not to look at the stacks of six-packs at every single gas station and convenience store and wonder what the commercials that end with a "Please Drink Responsibly" tagline are talking about. Telling someone to drink responsibly is like saying "Have unprotected sex with strangers responsibly — wink, wink."
If brewers wanted people to drink responsibly, beer would come in a one-pack. And why do they have to advertise so much? You rarely see an ad on TV for wine, but wineries seem to be doing all right.
Even odder, CBS is the same network that runs ad after ad for pharmaceuticals "not to be used by pregnant women" whose admitted side effects may include "death, internal bleeding and loss of hair," among just a few. Why does an ad for alcohol not include a health warning? Is there a day or a week that goes by that you don't hear or read about an alcohol-related accident? All the problems with pot come from smuggling and drug wars, not from smoking it. I've yet to hear of a frat pledge dying from an overdose of marijuana. Because an overdose doesn't kill you; it puts you to sleep.
It might be much more likely that CBS wouldn't run the pot commercial because it's afraid the ad will anger all the network's beer advertisers. Funny, marijuana has been legalized for medical and/or recreational use in 33 states, while 14 states have legalized some form of CBD oil, a non-psychoactive form of cannabis.
Have you ever heard of a doctor prescribing beer for what ails you? "Oh, that constant headache back again, Bob? Let me write you a prescription for some beer." "Hey, that's a nasty bump on your head, Frank. I'll call the convenience store so your beer prescription will be ready when you get there." "Morning sickness, Martha? Maybe a prescription for beer will help."
I'm still waiting for a congressperson to make a speech claiming that beer is a "gateway drug" for margaritas and martinis. And, no, I don't want my surgeon to be smoking a joint while he's operating on me. But I don't want him drinking a Mai Tai during surgery, either.
The reality is that well-adjusted people don't need to drink or do drugs. But very few of us are that well-adjusted, or at least not all the time. Who hasn't had a frustrating day at work? A stressful day with children? A few sleepless nights? It's natural to want to relax.
But like the song says, "What is wrong with my life, that I must get drunk every night?"
Solve the first part, and you'll solve the second part.
Jim Mullen is the author of It Takes a Village Idiot: A Memoir of Life After the City. His column, The Village Idiot, takes a look at the curiosities of American life.