How High Can Marijuana Marketing Get?

Colorado ‘High’ Travel Marketing Meets Marijuana

I’ve written about the blossoming opportunities for marijuana industry marketing that are coming from the ‘Green Rush’. (See below for  links to a couple of past posts on this very subject.)

Colorado, as a fully legal state, and Oregon, with its medical marijuana system, are worth looking at as harbingers of what’s coming to a town near you.

How high is up?

I’ll get to mile-high Colorado in a second…

There are ad and design agencies, publishers, ad networks, architects, retail designers, sign makers, website designers, social media experts, VC’s, lawyers, real estate agents, engineers, etc. jumping on this new Rush. The numbers, if you like hockey-stick-like bar charts are LRG!  How large? CNBC has estimated that the legal global marijuana market could reach as high as $120 billion.

No surprise here: people like drugs. LOL! Surprisingly, most ad agencies are not paying attention to this brand new market. They are still competing with every other agency for the local hospital, bank, outdoor brand, soda, etc. Even WPP agencies.


My Portland Petri Dish.

I live in Portland where medical marijuana is legal and we will go all out legal in June, 2016. Today, there are over 30 dispensaries in the city  and each dispensary needs the help of  the marketing community.  That’s 30 brand new clients for the marketing services community that came virtually out of nowhere.

Cannabis Science   FarmaThe dispensary Farma is an example of a new ‘client’ and is clearly one of the best cases of a well-designed and branded medical marijuana dispensary. An agency or designer made some cash on this.  I’ve been inside the shop and Farma has clearly taken a page out of the Apple retail playbook. This shop is the cleanest, neatest, most minimal shop in the city. On the other side of the design spectrum, we have a shop that looks and feels like a 1920’s speakeasy. Each of these needed a brand, a logo, a website, social media platform, packaging, ads  and retail design. Multiply this activity by the other shops (and activity from products like edibles) and you start to see a growth category.

Need Some Brand New Clients? Try Marijuana Tourism.

I am consulting for an advertising agency that specializes in the real estate and travel markets so I punched in the search term ‘marijuana resort colorado’ in Google and got a bunch of results that further my case that there is money to be made in this market (yes, I know this should be is obvious.) Take a look at the website for Travel High Colorado.

Colorado Marijuana Vacations   Concierge   Travel High ColoradoTravel High offers packaged (get this (“high-cation”) cannibis trips. Here’s how they describe some of their services:

Cannabis Concierge: There is a lot to know about the new Colorado Cannabis laws and about the wonderful plant itself. Trust our experts to answer any questions that you may have as we are  “Colorado’s Premiere Cannabis Concierge.”

Reservations: Our Travel Specialists will tailor your transportation, activities, and accommodations into a personalized “high-cation.” We personally plan all the details for your “High Country Experience.”

OK, My Point?

If you live in one of the legal marijuana states, or the growing list of fully legal states, I’d at least start to think about this brand new marketing category opportunity. There are already marijuana specialist agencies. But, you might not want to go that far. That said, start to pay attention to this space and… why wouldn’t you want to have a great branding story like Farma’s in your portfolio?

Feeling squeamish? I can imagine that. Especially if you live in a conservative state or one run by old white guys. However, the times are a-changin. Here is what Gallup has reported.

Gallup’s long-term trend on Americans’ support for legalizing marijuana shows that in 1969, just 12% of U.S. adults were in favor. But that swelled to 28% by the late 1970s, and 34% by 2003. Since then, support steadily increased to the point that 50% supported it in 2011.

Last year was the first time Gallup found a solid majority in favor, at 58%. That poll was conducted amid heavy news coverage of the imminent implementation of Colorado’s marijuana legalization law, which may have contributed to what appears to have been a temporary jump in support. This year, support at 51% is still a majority, but closer to where it was in 2011 and 2012.

Still squeamish? If you ever dreamed of getting some of the $3 billion that Pfizer spends per year selling Ativan and Viagra, then get over pitching a marijuana client — today’s newest ‘drug’ client. Still fearful? I bet you’d probably like to land the Jack Daniels 9o proof account. Nuff said.

Well, more stuff. Here is just one agency that seems to have figured this out. By the way, do you need to dedicate your entire agency to this industry? Of course not. Here’s a wild idea, why not build a sub brand. Why don’t agencies create sub-brands that targeted specific industries? Hmmm… back to the start. That’s exactly what the real estate agency I am working with is doing. Does every thing you do have to be under your NAME?

Looking For Some Past “Marijuana” Posts?

See the list here.

One Comment

  1. Paul Hoff
    | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips, Peter.

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