Cheeba Chews spoofs big pharma in ad for cannabis edibles

cannabis advertising

Veteran edibles brand Cheeba Chews paired up with established creative agency Piggyback to create a spoof ad that takes a satirical approach to compliant cannabis advertising. Cheeba Chews successfully lists fake ailments in the style of pharmaceutical commercials in this very real ad for their infused taffy candies.

The commercial follows swishy tracksuit-clad Randy Falcon as he explains that Cheeba Chews offer “joint relief,” which in the commercial world is a relief from smoking joints. The ad successfully skirts stringent rules against making health claims in advertising.

Falcon cites that Cheeba Chews can help relieve faux conditions like air guitar back and bicycle seat butt. The cannabis edibles commercial is a parodic puzzle that elegantly colors within the legal lines.

“We have a ton of restrictions on how we can position cannabis in regulated markets,” Eric Leslie, CMO of Cheeba Chews, told Adweek. “So with this product, we had to get reaaaaaal creative to make sure consumers understood the benefits without making explicit claims.”

This isn’t the brand’s first foray into comedic cannabis advertising. In 2021, Cheeba Chews worked with the funniest high chef on TikTok, Nicole from Dope Kitchen. As a brand that has been operating since 2009, Cheeba Chews is no stranger to the challenge of successfully and legally marketing cannabis products.

The challenge of cannabis advertising

Cannabis companies are held to strict advertising and marketing standards, often to the detriment of their brands. Of the 23 states with adult-use cannabis, a majority currently regulate cannabis advertising. These rules focus on restricting how minors interact with brands.

Some states allow radio, print, and internet advertisements as long as the audience (or a majority of the audience) is over 21. Others restrict weed companies from advertising in one or all of these media channels. Regulators have also placed restrictions or bans on event sponsorships and location-based marketing campaigns.

As far as the content itself, companies are barred from targeting children, making claims about the safety of the products, and offering gifts or prizes. Though studies continue to support the idea that cannabis can be therapeutic, advertisements can not make any therapeutic claims. Ten states require product warnings in the adverts, not to be confused with those little safety symbols on the packaging.

Solid cannabis parody

This Cheeba Chews ad brilliantly skirts these obstacles while still exhibiting relevant product information. But it’s not the first cannabis company that spoofed a pharmaceutical commercial.

In 2017, Briteside Cannabis released an almost too-accurate commercial, like the calm-voiced person expeditiously reading side effects. Sure, one was “sensitivity to musical dopeness,” but based on tone alone, that might as well have been an ad for allergy meds.

The Cheeba Chews parody hits better, possibly due to their longstanding history with the cannabis industry. Briteside played into some stereotypes, prompting cannabis advocates and long-time consumers to roll their eyes.

In one scene, a senior is dancing, claiming to not know his daughter because he’s so high. As the commercial closes, the main character laughs uncontrollably in front of a group of kids. Both stoner tropes do nothing to normalize the plant. That’s possibly why the Cheeba Chews parody skips this low-hanging fruit for truly silly, out-of-pocket humor.

Without making therapeutic claims, the ad successfully shares about the product, gets the viewer thinking about how it works, and even lightly touches on the endocannabinoid system. It’s a testament to how far the industry has come, even if it can’t air on national television just yet.

After sticking around for over a decade and setting advertising standards in the process, Cheeba Chews might be a cannabis product worth buying. But don’t regard this as medical advice, because as Randy Falcon said, “I’m not a doctor, but I do stub my toe a lot.”

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.