Denver television history was supposed to be made this week, when a commercial for Neos Vape Pen — a marijuana product featured in our recent "Power of the Hash Pen" roundup — aired on Channel 7 Monday night during Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Except it didn't.
The spot didn't air last night, either — and now, its broadcast locally has been postponed indefinitely.
Nationally, however, the commercial made its debut today, as part of an ultra-dopey (pun intended) report by Bloomberg Business. See it below.
Neos previewed the ad in a pair of recent tweets, including this one:
As you can see, the link in the tweet above connects to a MarketWatch.com story that quotes Olivia Mannix of Cannabrand, a marketing company that has been working with Neos. The firm featured in this space last year; Mannix and partner Jennifer DeFalco were taking heat at the time for a comment in the New York Times about "weeding out the stoners."
Huge news! Neos will be featured in the first cannabis commercial during Jimmy Kimmel Live. More details to come.... http://t.co/Gdag2vij5H— Neos (@LiveNeos) July 19, 2015
In her conversation with MarketWatch, Mannix emphasized that the commercial complied with Colorado regulations. Here's an excerpt:
The Colorado Department of Revenue prohibits cannabis advertising that has a “high likelihood of reaching minors,” thus television advertisements cannot run during programs where there is “reliable evidence” that more than 30% of the audience is under 21.Nonetheless, Channel 7 execs got cold feet prior to the airing, reportedly due to worries expressed by the station's parent company, E.W. Scripps. A Scripps statement confirming that the airing of the ad would be postponed indefinitely notes cited a "lack of clarity around federal regulations that govern broadcast involving such ads.”
Mannix said Cannabrand analyzed Nielsen data to determine that 90% of the [Kimmel] audience during that time slot is over 21.
However, sharing such material is just fine in a TV-news context, and Bloomberg News did just that on its MarketMakers program.
The ad itself is as benign as benign can be. It doesn't mention marijuana or even show the vape pen itself, instead focusing on broad concepts such as adventure and relaxation against a backdrop of images split between an EDM-friendly club and the great outdoors.
As for Bloomberg's presentation, reporter Ramy Inocencio does his best to convey the basic information, but he faces two big obstacles: co-hosts Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker. Ruhle, sounding like Kathie Lee Gifford on a bender, repeatedly tries for laughs by declaring that weed doesn't need advertising, because people who want it are already growing it in their garage, while Schatzker equates the commercial to spots for Flomax that will be superfluous to old men who already know they have problems peeing.
The commercial airs at just shy of the one-minute mark in the following video, but if you've got the time, watch the whole thing. Afterward, we bet you'll be in desperate need of a hit from a vape pen.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.