Not all of our poster ideas are winners. In fact, most years we submit several ideas for approval and some that are pretty darn good never see the light of day—like the ones below.
The 2019 edition of RBC Bluesfest was the first since Canada's legalization of marijuana and included the second Bluesfest appearance of rapper Snoop Dogg, the patron saint for the free access to weed. Bluesfest also established a smoking and cannabis policy as well as a designated smoking area on site. What better way to mark these developments than a poster of Saint Dogg himself enjoying a joint while performing? Wrong!
The poster depicting a saintly Snoop Dogg with a nod to medieval religious icons was completed, instantly approved by Snoop Dogg’s posse. Everyone we showed it to seemed to love it—or maybe it was just the cheekiness of the whole idea.
However, when it was presented presented to title sponsor RBC Royal Bank of Canada for final approval, it was promptly rejected. Rightly so.
RBC will not attach their hard-earned world-class brand to such things as tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption or the use of cannabis-related products, even though they are all legal in Canada. When we got over our disappointment, we had to agree completely with their much wider point of view—that while these sorts of things are legal, they are still positively connected to the many health issues resulting from addictions. The sponsor in no way could be seen to endorse their use.
We thought it would be sort of funny. They did not. And we appreciate their immediate decision and went back to the drawing board.
The illustration of Snoop Dogg is based on the work of Austin, Texas-based photographer Jim Chapin who generously allowed us to use his image—with and without the joint.