The legalization of recreational pot in Colorado means big business, and with big business comes cutthroat competition and the desperate need for cost effective advertising. However, many marijuana marketers are finding out that their advertising dollars are worthless in the commercial world, as many new media outlets simply will not allow businesses dealing in cannabis to promote their products online.
Even though legitimate marijuana commerce has reportedly generated a million dollars a day since opening for business at the beginning of this year, digital media monsters like Google and Twitter are so far refusing to capitalize on and support this newfound industry by allowing weed merchants to purchase sponsored ad searches or post tweets.
Advertising experts say that until the entire industry has a reasonable level of clarity in regards to the regulations surrounding marijuana marketing, “potrepreneurs,” are on their own. But once the rules of the game are clear, the public can expect to witness the first wave of mainstream marijuana marketing, featuring celebrities “known for their open marijuana views like Woody Harrelson,” said Jarrod Moses, CEO of United Entertainment Group, in a recent article in Ad Week.
Nick Adler, vice president of business development for the Cashmere Agency couldn’t agree more, saying that his firm is already busy developing deals for one of their biggest clients, Snoop Dogg, including a signature strain of pot, and a line of marijuana related products similar to the rapper’s popular G Pen Vaporizer. “Snoop Dogg can be the Michael Jordan of the weed market,” he added.
While Colorado’s cannabusiness community has been temporarily forced into pot promotion via word of mouth and other less involved methods of marketing madness, Greg Wagner, a longtime ad executive and marketing instructor at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, says that mainstream cannabis advertising is coming and “is going to happen quicker than you think.” When it does, he adds, you can almost guarantee the beer companies will take a piece of the action.
“And once they get in there, you are going to see some major branding going on,” said Wagner. "I can see Anheuser-Busch getting involved in this. I heard rumors of this over a year ago -- that they would probably get in there.”
Wagner says there will come a day when “Big Marijuana” companies are advertised across the mainstream media in the same way done by today’s major brewing companies. “I wouldn't doubt in five years we're going to see a Super Bowl commercial,” he said. “I think it's coming, and maybe I'm wrong, or maybe it will be two years! But I could see a 60-second commercial featuring marijuana.”
In the meantime, advertising experts say it could be months before the regulations of marijuana marketing are hashed out.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.