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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
“We cannot wait,” said Howard Bashford. “Delay destroys, and if we aren’t ready before Nov. 2, some other agency will beat us to the punch.”
“I totally agree,” said Amy Handleman.
“Me too,” said Jill Poke.
And so the three principals of Bashford, Handleman and Poke, Advertising and Public Relations, sat down to brainstorm ad campaigns for retail marijuana.
The partners anticipated passage of Proposition 19, the cannabis-legalization measure on the California ballot. BH&P knew every other ad agency in the country would be trying, if not to corner the business, at least to reap a portion of the bonanza of a market filled with competing producers.
Bashford, as senior partner, took the lead.
“Clearly, our model ought to be taken from another dangerous drug,” he said. “The tobacco companies have been showing us the way for decades. For example, when it comes to marijuana, it’s going to be tough to improve on Chesterfield’s ‘Blow some my way.'”
“Maybe we can get the rights to it,” said Handleman, “though, personally, I lean toward Lucky Strike’s catchy ‘LSMFT,’ for ‘Lucky Strike means fine tobacco.’ We could make it, ‘LSMFP.’ You know, ‘Lucky … uh … Stuff means fine pot.'”
“We could lean on the psychedelic angle,” said Poke. “Remember the old Tareyton cigarette commercials? They’d show a guy laying bricks, and he’d say, ‘Actually, I’m a symphony conductor.’ We could have him saying, ‘Actually, I’m a symphony conductor … in my hallucinations.'”
“We also could borrow from Pall Mall’s ‘wherever particular people congregate’ and make it ‘wherever particular people toke up.'”
“Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should!” exclaimed Poke. “Make it, ‘Our weed tastes good, like a reefer should.'”
“Virginia Slims!” countered Handleman. “‘You’ve come a long way, baby’ becomes ‘You’re far out, baby.’
“And let’s remember that the whole legalization push began with medical marijuana. We can’t just forget that market segment.”
“Yes! Yes!” said Poke. “I remember the old L&M cigarette campaign, ‘Just what the doctor ordered,’ and there also was, ‘More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.'”
“These are excellent ideas,” said Bashford enthusiastically. “Any agency would be happy to steal them. However, we mustn’t forget that marijuana isn’t just for smoking. It can be baked into cookies or brownies, even mixed into ice cream.”
“Ice cream!” snorted Handleman. “We wouldn’t even need to change the name of ‘Heavenly Hash’!”
“It could be marketed like a spice,” interjected Poke. “How about, ‘Put some pot in your pot roast’?”
“And entertainment,” Bashford said, forging ahead. “We could do some co-op stuff with the movie studios – bring back ‘Easy Rider’ and ‘M*A*S*H.’ Music would be easy. So many celebrity musicians would be more than happy to endorse the product. And television! It’s a natural narcotic already.”
“Hey! How about the youth angle,” said Handleman. “We can have attractive young women stroll the shopping malls, giving free samples to young people. That would open massive sales potential.”
“Whoa!” said Poke. “We have to remember that Proposition 19 will only legalize marijuana for adults.”
“Oh, yeah. We can’t forget about that,” said Bashford, suppressing a snicker. “The law sure didn’t keep cigarettes out of the hands of kids. Besides, parents will have to be responsible, and most of them will be too high to care.
“We have plenty to work with,” the senior partner went on. “Get your ideas to the art department. I want to see storyboards tomorrow!”
Meanwhile, on the national stage: According to the Washington Post, in his new book, “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward quotes the president as saying, “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.” We’re sure this is of great solace to the families of the 2,752 killed in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight 93, and of those who died later or sickened from the aftereffects of the toxic dust and smoke.
High-office qualification: We’re bemused by the fuss some are making over the tax problems of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. If she only had delayed payment of her back taxes until she had won the nomination. Then she could argue she was crooked enough to be secretary of the treasury.