What a world where an organic medicine needs to be lent legitimacy by junk food advertisements. But, for better or worse, that world is our world, bitches, and it’s one in which ad companies working for conglomerate businesses are more in line with the times than America’s judicial system.
A clever-ish billboard ad in Denver is making waves with the area cannabis community for targeting stoners using the approaching 4/20. “It looks like we’ve really gone mainstream with this Totino’s Pizza Roll billboard,” Joe Hodas, chief marketing officer of edible company Dixie Brands, told Marijuana Business Daily.
The Totino’s campaign features slogans such as “Stock Up B4/20” on billboards and city buses in the Denver area. The public display of the billboard shows a major imbalance between laws constricting marijuana businesses and those in any other sector of the marketplace.
Cannabis companies can only advertise on billboards in Colorado if those billboards are on the company’s own property. Similar laws apply in other states as well.
While General Mills (the company behind such wonderful munchies as Totino’s or Cinnamon Toast Crunch) is free to market toward cannabis users, cannabis companies themselves are not.
“We were talking about it all weekend,” Hodas said. “In a bad way, (it’s) ironic for all of us now because you have a mainstream brand that can advertise on the backs of legalization. But we companies, as pioneers having paved the way for this, none of us can advertise our products on a billboard.”
This is far from the first time a big corporation has gone after the dabber demographic. Last year around this time, companies such as Peps-Cola, Carl’s Jr., and HBO all tweeted 4/20 friendly marketing. Pepsi’s was the only one that had a little imagination and didn’t essentially say, “Hey, dumb potheads, consume our brand of nutritoinless product instead of someone else’s.” It’s actually kind of neat, if a little slight.
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) April 20, 2015
Totino’s, for their part, seems to kind of get stoner culture on a level it’s competitors don’t, as signaled by the creative control they gave THC-complimentary comedy duo TIm and Eric with their “Pizza Freaks Unite” commercial.
“I applaud a company like General Mills that isn’t banned from advertising” to the 420-friendly community, Ean Seeb, co-founder of pot shop Denver Relief, told MBD. But Seeb adds that he just wishes, “the same opportunities were afforded to those of us who are actually in the industry.”
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