Why “Stoner” is still Viable: Marketing Trends 2020 and Beyond!
I recently read a perfectly executed article by Mike Adams in Forbes where he spoke about the “snuffed Cannabis Ad in the Super Bowl”. While reading the article, Mike pointed out something that as a marketer, made sense.
Today, I’d like to expand on the idea that “stoner isn’t dead”….at least not within the realm of marketing and more importantly, “Why cashing in on decades long cultural programming” could mean big bucks in the future.
Wait…what are we talking about?
Okay, let me take one step back. If you haven’t seen the rejected Cannabis Super Bowl Ad, then you can watch it here.
The ad is quite dreary in nature. Showcasing the medical necessity of marijuana. However, as Mike Adams pointed out…the Super Bowl isn’t the place for this type of messaging.
When you think of Super Bowl commercials, you’re looking for “funny” or “pushing the boundaries”. These commercials are usually over-produced shorts that has become almost as important to pop culture as “the game itself”.
The cannabis ad from Acreage Cannabis simply didn’t fit the criteria. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s an important message sure…but as Adams pointed out…”Is this where the industry is going?”
Where is the Industry Going?
As I’ve written before, the medical cannabis sector will evolve into something completely different than what we’re seeing today. Over the next ten years, cannabis medicine will be treated as such…medicine. You’ll have dose specific, condition specific medication utilizing different cannabinoids in different ratios and the likes.
From a medical perspective, the plant approach simply will never be able to deliver consistency within doses, making it unviable.
However, the recreational market is just kicking off and that is where the “real money” is. At least from the perspective of business-people. The recreational market is infinitely larger than the medical market and while there are plenty of medicinal benefits from cannabis, the recreational market will one-day be king.
What this means is that the market will want to capitalize on the latter. Understanding this, we come to the idea of “stoner”.
Why Stoner is a Money Word!
A year or two ago there was quite a lot of chatter about whether or not branding as a “stoner” is the right move. The argument was that “professionals do not want to be associated with the ‘stoner image’”. This is why many brands tried to steer clear of the “stoner image”. Some of the more ‘modern’ logos don’t have a cannabis leaf or anything related to cannabis on its brand appearance.
While this might sit well with demographics that don’t want to be seen as “stoners”, it leaves out the millions of people who do identify as stoners.
And why not?
Was it not stoners who took a negative stereotype and turned it iconic statement of the counter-culture? It was stoners who, irrespective of laws, continued to use cannabis and create an entire industry that thrived even when prohibition was at its worst. It was the stoner who wrote songs, made movies, invented cool slang terms, traditions and an entire culture around an obscure word.
Hell…stoners took the word from alcohol and made it cool.
Now, with the next wave of cannabis commerce about to be unleashed on the world, some of the new “savvy” marketers want to trash decades’ worth of culture to re-brand cannabis in a new light.
I think this would be a mistake. Of course, some people won’t identify with the “Stoner Culture”, but the Stoner is just that…culture.
It’s the one thing that every industry desires but few obtain. It’s creating a culture around the product and when it comes to cannabis…that culture already exists.
Perhaps, it’s time to update the “Stoner Culture” and bring it into the 21st Century. What does “Stoner” mean today? This is what modern brands should be looking for as opposed to distancing themselves from a rough past.
Perhaps the Stoner is no longer the “loser” as portrayed by the narrative of prohibition, but rather someone who even if the world is against them…will endure. Perhaps the stoner is no longer lazy but innovative. I mean, just look at the bongs we make.
The stoner is creative. The stoner is free-thinking. The stoner doesn’t bend to the rules, they find loopholes. The stoner is easy-going. The stoner doesn’t take offense. The stoner likes good food, good times and hanging out with friends. The stoner is a professional. The stoner is smart, like Carl Sagan and Terrence McKenna.
You see, as the new wave of recreational sales take off internationally, wouldn’t it make more sense to capitalize on a culture that has endured the test of time? That united people of all colors and creeds. That bridged the schism between classes, gender and politics.
Stoner isn’t dead…far from it, it’s going to come back and show the world that there’s a stoner living in every single one of us.