The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is on the horizon; we can just about smell it. In states where legalization has already occurred, other companies are ahead of the game and have begun to develop and display ads to promote marijuana use. Once cannabis gets the green light in NJ, you’re going to need some inspiration on how to market your dispensary. To help, we’ve crafted a quick list of the top brands who have the best examples of marijuana advertising we’ve seen yet.
MedMen, Southern California’s largest marijuana retailer, is all about the age-old adage “don’t market the marijuana, break the stereotype”. Did we just make that up? Maybe, but it couldn’t be truer for businesses who are looking to get involved in the tricky game of marketing marijuana.
No longer is marijuana just for those classified as “lazy stoners”. It can be used by everyone, for a variety of reasons, whether medical or recreational. MedMen launched it’s most recent “Forget Stoner” campaign, which is “all about celebrating that diversity and broad level of interest. There is something for everyone, and it is time to move beyond dated labels that don’t reflect the realities of today.” We couldn’t agree more.
The images used in the “Forget Stoner” series, advertised on L.A. highway billboards and Beverly Hills buildings, showcase people from all walks of life, all professions, to prove the point that the “stoner” stereotype has grown old. The modern marijuana consumer is so much more than a stoner.
Adding to their repertoire of advertising ammunition, MedMen also began to distribute their own print publication entitled Ember. In collaboration with Paper Magazine, this publication allows them to take matters into their own hands and take control of the way weed-related information is disseminated to the public. The articles included in Ember don’t necessarily highlight marijuana as a focal point. Rather, they incorporate the topic into interviews with artists, musicians and other entrepreneurs in the field, such as celebrity cannabis chef Neal Fraser.
Currently estimated at a value of $1 billion, it’s safe to say that this out-of-the-box marijuana advertising by MedMen has helped catapult them to the top of the cannabis charts.
2. Yummi Karma
Some moms can be the toughest opponents against the legalization and recreational use of marijuana. However, companies like Yummi Karma realized that creating marijuana advertising campaigns specifically catered to their combatants might actually be the most effective move. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?
The young, female entrepreneurs behind Yummi Karma first debuted their signature, savory THC-infused edibles and are now promoting High Gorgeous (HG), a beauty product line. They’re also targeting one of the most underrepresented and highly skeptical demographics in marijuana merchandising – moms.
Studies show that mothers control 85% of household purchases and have a U.S. spending power of almost $2.4 trillion. There is true purchasing power in this often-neglected demographic in the world of weed. Moms really do rule.
Through bright, playful colors and eye-catching ads featuring women, Yummi Karma has captured the attention of moms across the country who have become increasingly interested in cannabis tincture and specialty snacks. While the brand is currently still based in California, Krystal Kitahara, CEO of Yummi Karma, is motivated to expand her products into every home, saying in an interview with The Economist in 2015, “I want it to feel like you could see it on a shelf at Trader Joe’s”.
Can you imagine a Trader Joe’s-esque supermarket filled with gluten-free, cannabis chips and soccer mom shoppers? Thanks to the thoughtfully tailored advertising efforts of Yummi Karma, this vision may be a reality sooner than you think.
3. Whoopi & Maya
The infamous Whoopi Goldberg teamed up with #teamgreen great Maya Elisabeth to create a brand of medical marijuana products that provide relief to women suffering from extreme PMS symptoms. Their cannabis scrubs and serums contain soothing ingredients like lavender and cacao. These female badasses are spreading awareness about the medical uses of marijuana in hopes of sparking an important conversation and striking down stereotypes.
In attempts to avoid federal legal troubles, the pair has started selling solely in dispensaries throughout California and Colorado to people with a medical marijuana license. To advertise their product line, Whoopi & Maya have cashed in the celebrity card and use Goldberg’s legendary status to their business’ advantage.
As a business strategy, they haven’t tried to engage in direct, online marijuana advertising and risk violating many platforms’ strict laws. Instead, the advertising campaigns of Whoopi & Maya rely on news outlets to relay information regarding their product by using Whoopi’s latest-and-greatest venture as the overarching storyline. Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Forbes, just to name a few, have all written stories about the all-star team’s miracle marijuana solutions.
Similarly, Whoopi & Maya have also joined forces with MassRoots, which is one of the largest technology platforms for the regulated cannabis industry. Using available resources to their advantage is this duo’s marketing strong suit. Influencer marketing is also pretty easy when one of your founders has a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Smart move. We see you, Whoopi.
How do you handle misconceptions? You directly impart knowledge. What better way to do that than with giant billboards, wouldn’t you say? That’s exactly what Weedmaps, a cannabis directory platform, is doing with their Weedfacts billboard campaign. The ultimate goal of Weedmaps was to “dispel some of the myths around cannabis and foster real dialogue about cannabis legalization.” You can’t argue with these facts.
While marijuana advertising is currently prohibited on Facebook and Instagram, a savvy loophole exists within the ad policy of Twitter. While Twitter prohibits the promotion of drugs and paraphernalia, this restriction does not apply to news content and the exchange of drug-related, statistical information.
Not only are billboards full of Weedmaps’ “Weed Facts”, but so is their Twitter account. On a daily basis, @weedmaps actively shares insightful tweets and links directly to important medical studies, such as this one about multiple sclerosis.
— Weedmaps (@weedmaps) July 6, 2018
By doing so, Weedmaps has been able to promote the purpose behind their business without violating Twitter and it’s policies. #Genius
Collectively, these four companies fall under our favorites tab and have seen success in a challenging field because they all have incorporated the narrative of destigmatization into their marijuana advertising tactics. They wholeheartedly believe in the potential of the marijuana market and have put in the hard work needed to properly communicate their product’s true value to a wider audience. Whether by using influencer or print marketing, the sooner the stigma surrounding cannabis is dispelled, the sooner your business, too, will reap the endless benefits of this powerful, growing industry. It’s time to get on board because this train isn’t stopping anytime soon.