Quick—think of the most recent digital ad you saw. Was it automotive? Retail? Most likely. Name almost any other category and the same probably holds true. Brad Weltman
Earlier this week, an updated take on a famous anti-drug PSA posed the classic question: "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?" Nope. But what about your Ikea furniture on drugs? Hunter Fine and Alex Taylor are two veteran copywriters who met several years ago while working at BBDO New York and continue to collaborate on the occasional side project. Last year, they were discussing the shared frustrations of building Ikea furniture when a friend noted that the experience would be particularly difficult for someone under the influence of certain intoxicants. Using the power of the pun, they then developed the idea for "Hikea," a video series in which they recruited several willing strangers to go on camera, take substantial doses of psychedelic drugs, and attempt to construct new desks and drawers without injuring themselves in the process. We think it's fair to say that they experienced varying degrees of success. In the first episode, things went predictably awry for Giancarlo and Nicole once the LSD kicked in.
Inspired by the hit Netflix series Narcos, about the exploits of Pablo Escobar, some fans decided to dig up some of the period's not-so-subtle ads for cocaine paraphernalia. They posted their finds, clipped from drug magazines ranging from 1976 to 1981, to art and culture site The World's Best Ever. From there, the ads, some of which you can browse below, have quickly traveled the world, being featured by London-based magazine Don't Panic and in an Imgur gallery that was near the top of today's front page on Reddit. While drug paraphernalia and merchandise ads have remained in circulation for decades, with marijuana-related items obviously being a hot industry today, it's fascinating to look back on the highly specific time when cocaine was king. (In case you're wondering, drug paraphernalia ads are generally legal in the U.S., though some states such as Ohio and Nebraska do have specific ads outlawing them.) You should definitely check out the full set at The World's Best Ever, but here are a few of our favorites:
How do you calm grandpa down when he gets in one of his moods? Well, in the 1950s, you cooled him out with some heavy-duty amphetamines. This 1959 magazine ad heralded the wonder drug Thorazine, a failed malaria cure later found to have major sedative effects. This ad also marked the start of the age when consumers began expecting cures for nearly anything from a pill bottle.
In Australia, "ice" is anything but cool. Ice addiction—that is, a taste for crystal meth—has become a terrifying scourge Down Under, prompting the federal government to launch a six-week, $9 million ($7 million U.S.) PSA blitz that contains several shocking sequences.
On Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana to anyone 21 or older. Sales have become so successful that stores are unable to keep up with the demand. Ben & Jerry's acknowledged that with a tweet on Thursday.
In this controversial Burger King ad from Russia, a Whopper crushes a flower as a voiceover informs us: "This is a poppy.