Legal Sea Foods Leans Into the Cannabis Marketing Craze With New Mind-Bending Campaign

Restaurant chain offers munchies alternatives

Trippy fish. Legal Sea Foods
Headshot of Shannon Miller

In 2016, the people of Massachusetts voted to decriminalize recreational marijuana use. That doesn’t mean that the state could immediately light up; much like the state’s legalization of medical marijuana four years prior, it would take years to clear the legal pathway to allow for dispensaries to sell to customers without medical necessity. Now, the state is slowly but surely approving more locations to freely (and legally) sell for recreational use.

While one can expect many residents to celebrate accordingly (and repeatedly), that doesn’t mean that they should be relegated to the same post-toke munchies. Perhaps instead of chips, they should consider a nice crab cake for the occasion?

To celebrate the new, more lax laws, the appropriately named Legal Sea Foods has forgone the kitschy, weed-inspired products and created a collection of psychedelic ads to promote their already, er, baked and smoked fish.

The pun-filled campaign from DeVito/Verdi is called “Welcome To Legal,” and not only did the restaurant air their colorful ads at precisely 4:20 (of course) today, they are also dispensing their own goodies: free clam chowder from their famed Chowda’ Van, which will park outside of Boston dispensaries.

Legal hopes to tempt those exiting the dispensary with their specially curated “Toke-Out Menu.” If that approach feels a little on-the-nose, we reckon it won’t matter once people have both their shrimp and their stash of grass.

The long-standing chain touts a family-friendly history dating back to 1904, so the new campaign is a notable pivot from the milder marketing of the past (the fish-inspired leaf as part of the campaign is a testament to that fact).

But the incremental legalization of marijuana signals the arrival of a new world, and the “Welcome to Legal” campaign is the product of a brand that is ready to not only adapt but to also welcome change with open fins.

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Shannon Miller is a writer, podcast creator and contributor to Adweek.