Over the last several years, one major industry in American culture has been on the rise while another has been on a downtrend. At least that’s the perception when it comes to the film business and the cannabis industry.
In film, while major players like Disney are having record years at the box office, smaller independent films struggle to find audiences in the vast video on demand landscape. At the same time, the once black market cannabis industry grew 30 percent last year and is expected to continue to grow at a steady rate over the next several years.
Is it possible that these two industries, one on shaky ground and the other jsut taking off, might be able to scratch each other’s backs? That’s the bet that The World’s Best Ever (TWBE), a marketing agency and culture website, took when it started cross-promoting cannabis products and independent films.
TWBE has clients in both worlds, marketing products like the High Kite and the LAVC Dispensary alongside prestige wide release films like Room and A Most Violent Year. At some point, the zeitgeisty super-hip film distributor A24 approached TWBE with the idea to promote their film Tusk using TWBE’s cannabis connections.
The agency marketed the film, which was directed by stoner icon Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), with the “Toke N’ Tusk” campaign, branding two strains of medical marijuana with the Tusk name and supplying it to the Los Angeles dispensary Buds & Roses. In addition, TWBE bought advertising space in pothead hotspots of the internet such as High Times and The Cannabist.
It worked so well the agency tried it again with A24 on last year’s comedy Swiss Army Man, marketing a movie tie-in bong (like when Happy Meals come with Transformers toys, but for a slightly more mature crowd).
Most recently, they’re running trailers for the new film The Hero inside dispensaries equipped with TV screens. These screens had been used to run ads for marijuana products, but TWBE decided to use it for a brand new purpose: to market a soon-to-be-released theatrical film. The Hero had been advertised in other markets, but a new trailer emphasizing the weed-smoking aspects of the film was cut and shown in front of the right bloodshot eyeballs.
According to TWBE’s co-founder David Wilfert, the advertising capability of the weed industry has been greatly underestimated. “Pot smokers also do everything that non-pot smokers do,” Wilfert recently told Leafly. “I think in time they’ll started getting traditional consumer ads.”