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Update 08/31/2017: Alaska responded to our request for comment with this statement:
The ad is part of a 30 min program called “Lifestyle 365” that compromises of 10-15 commercials in varying length from 30-90 seconds. This is not an ad shown to all people on board Virgin America flights, a guest must actively choose to watch this 30 min ad reel. It had 1,963 views out of 1.7M on RED this month. We are in the process of evaluating all the existing content on the RED entertainment system, as we move toward a consolidated IFE strategy across Alaska and Virgin America.
As marijuana legalization becomes more and more the norm throughout the United States — it is now legal for recreational use in eight states and the District of Columbia — it’s inevitable that we will see more weed-related items, media and culture throughout our society.
Earlier this summer Virgin America debuted the first ever in-flight commercial for a cannabis-related business. The minute and a half long spot was created by Wikileaf, an app that helps you search for cannabis stores in areas where the substance is legal and tracks prices of different strains at each outlet.
The ad shows a woman packing for her flight and then facing the question of whether she should bring her marijuana on her trip. “The simple answer is no,” says the narrator — obviously, since the federal government deems it a banned narcotic. But the ad then segues into how Wikileaf operates, and its utility for travelers in weed-friendly states.
Virgin America started playing the ad in June and says it’s expected to run through mid-September, on all domestic flights, meaning it will likely reach nearly 8 million passengers. According to Ad Age, there are lots of regulations around cannabis ads, so Wikileaf needed to find a creative way to advertise its product.
Have you seen the Wikileaf ad on a Virgin America flight?
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