Yes to Wellness: Griffin Stenger, Partner, Concept Farm
Legality is less of a barrier to brands than the baggage that comes with the perception/legacy of marijuana.
Facebook, Instagram and Google have banned marijuana marketing. What alternatives do you find the most effective to promote marijuana brands and products?
A: We enjoy the creative challenge of working with different channels in content placement, publishing, influencer marketing and event marketing.
How do regulations affect the execution of marketing campaigns and what are the solutions?
A: We constantly monitor the regulations on the industry and find they are consistently inconsistent. Pieces get through on some days and not on others, which makes creating and executing campaigns difficult. We found some interesting loopholes that we would be crazy to share here – but we are proud of the innovation we have had to apply. You will have to contact us for a consultation to find out more!
Are there any brands that have an opportunity crossing over into marijuana industry? Is legality the only thing preventing them from embracing it?
A: Legality is less of a barrier to brands than the baggage that comes with the perception/legacy of marijuana. There are many brands that could cross over and many will. There are also brands that do not have the opportunity to seamlessly cross over but will try to cash in on this billion-dollar business anyway. This new category may actually be less about the ‘Products’ and more the opportunity for brands to extend or augment their current relationships with their customers. But, it has to be done carefully and authentically.
What are some similarities and differences you see between alcohol & tobacco industries and marijuana?
A: The main similarity drawn between the two industries is the way platforms are handling advertising policy due to marijuana’s heritage of being primarily for recreational drug use. Other similarities are the unregulated advertising claims that some cannabis products are putting out there, which reminds us of the early days of tobacco advertising.
However, when it comes to the positioning of some cannabis products there are more similarities to the Wellness and Medical categories. When properly produced, the incredible power of cannabis can be applied to such a vast spectrum of issues and afflictions. The fact that it has so many possible uses to optimize life becomes the ‘Brand Problem.’ The challenge is building a strategy when there are so many USPs. A brand has to figure out what will be left behind in its pursuit to develop a relationship with a particular audience. Will the backers of these brands have an outsized influence on where the brand should go? Will the desire to be all things to all people overrun the practicality of establishing what a brand stands for in the long run to a particular audience? The desire to imitate Pharma seems to be the primary path at the moment, but the parallel to nutritional supplements is also a direction that is being explored. Ultimately there are still other areas where brands can find solid footing, compelling presence and enjoy long-term perspectives. (Another reason to contact us to find out more!)
What are your thoughts on involving celebrities into the cannabis campaigns?
A: There is no difference in using celebrities in this category over any other. Celebrities can be a blessing or a curse for any brand. They bring huge followings but those followings grow from-and-with a pre-existing image of that celebrity’s ‘persona.’ If that persona evolves in a direction favorable to the long-term view of the brand, it’s a positive. If not, no amount of having the celebrity act in-line with the brand’s vision but ‘out of character’ with their persona will bring them into alignment. In short, if the brand and the persona are in synch with that celebrity’s following, it can be a great combination.
Have you seen the cannabis marketing evolving since legalization first began in the US?
A: I don’t think we have an established ‘style’ yet, to be ‘evolving’- it’s just too early to tell. Ultimately, as our audience becomes more educated and accepting to the benefits of cannabinoids aside from the psychoactive effects of THC, brands will be forced to evolve with them.