How a failed Super Bowl ad signals the future of cannabis advertising
CBS’s consideration of a cannabis ad shows how far the industry has come in countering fearmongering and stereotypes
Come Sunday night, the Super Bowl will have its winner and its loser.
But before the two teams even made it to Atlanta, the country’s annual circus of consumerism and commercialism already had one clear victor: the marijuana industry.
CBS’s refusal to run a cannabis-focused investment firm’s ad advocating for the legalization of medical cannabis marked a coup for an industry whose product is still illegal federally. “The fact that an ad was even considered for the Super Bowl shows that we’ve turned a corner,” Lisa Buffo, the founder of the Cannabis Marketing Association, told the Guardian.
Cannabis industry advocates have spent decades countering both fearmongering over marijuana and Cheech and Chong stoner stereotypes. But now that cannabis is legal in some form in 33 states and two in threeAmericans are in support of legalization, the industry has entered a new phase and has turned its attention to branding and marketing.
The dream of a bud broadcast in the same vein as a mass-consumed Bud Light commercial most likely won’t come to fruition until the drug is legal federally. Companies can only advertise in states that have legalized cannabis and they are bound by state and local regulations. State and local authorities have imposed varying limitations, including on billboards in areas frequented by those under the age of 21.
There are no formal statistics on how much the industry is spending on marketing, Buffo said, though the Cannabis Marketing Association is working to track those numbers this year. Buffo believes cannabis businesses spend less than companies in other industries on marketing since it’s not considered a deductible business expense for them. But even if the industry were to spend just 10% of its revenue on advertising, that would still amount to $900m total.
MedMen’s brand of “redefining the cannabis industry” has translated into an extensive advertising blitz that includes print ads in southern California, web banner ads, social media influencers, and more than 30 traditional billboards and 60 mobile billboards in California and Nevada.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Vivian Ho on The Guardian
Published: January 31, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News