It’s Monday October 15th which means that in just 2 days CannAbis will officially be legal in Canada. Cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, dope, ganja reefer, whatever you want to call it, has been illegal in this country for over 90 years and this change is going to have a profound impact on our society on so many levels.
Of course, I want to talk about marketing and what this widespread social and economic change means to big brands as well as me and potentially some of my clients.
The fact is that most brands will steer clear of this subject just like alcohol consumption but with this change in legislation will come a change in attitudes and stereotypical demographics.
Speaking of stereotypical demos One notable brand already jumping on board the cannabis train is Hershey’s with their oh Henry 425 bar which is targeted directly at a younger “pot smoking” or “stoner” demographic. Obviously referencing 420 which if you don’t know what that means, here is a link to the urban dictionary definition. But they’re basically saying it’s perfect for 5 min after you get high and have the munchies.
Hershey’s partnered up with a youtube channel “epic meal time”, a Canadian based channel with 7 million subscribers to promote the bar. Now this is not a new strategy there are lots of channels, producing content for big brands but what’s interesting is the utter lack of subtlety in this video. In the spot they act high and create a 100lb version of the bar to satisfy their munchies. To me, it’s a bit of a bold move to be so blatant about a product created for stoners but it’s kind of an obvious tactic and one we might also see from brands like Doritos or Taco bell.
However, good marketing is about understanding human behaviour and attitudes and what I am really interested in seeing is how decriminalizing marijuana will change attitudes and a lot of those stereotypes. The fact is that it’s not just consumed by a young 18-25 male demographic. It was decriminalized because it is used recreationally, medicinally by people from all walks of life. So where before we might have used a cliche of busy mom comes home from work and pours herself a glass of wine, we might see a shift to cann ibis products whether it be a joint, oils, or edibles.
It’s like that Nike spot I was talking about a few weeks ago featuring Colin Kaepernick. The brilliance of that ad was the subtle yet impactful message that was a direct reflection of the times we live in and the times they are a changin’. Especially come Wednesday.