cannabis advertisements
cannabis advertisements

Why Exposure to Cannabis Advertisement Doesn’t Increase Youth Usage

Marijuana Advertisements Don't Sway Teens To Try Cannabis New Study Finds

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Saturday Dec 9, 2017

Exposure to Cannabis Advertisement Doesn’t Increase Youth Usage

Seeing a Cannabis Ad Does Not Make Kids Want to Smoke Pot from CannabisNet on Vimeo.


Platforms like Facebook, Google and all the other tech giants don’t allow people to advertise cannabis related content (technically). Similarly, organizations like the FCC also want to limit the exposure of cannabis related ads on television.


Why you may ask?

Because according to them, the increased exposure of cannabis-related advertisement will increase use…and of course, people aren’t “smart enough” to decide for themselves what is beneficial to them or not.

The only problem with this belief is that it isn’t based on any science. It’s the same rhetoric that wants to blame movies and violent video games for mass school shootings. No, listening to Marilyn Manson won’t make you a psycho-killer…there is no evidence to support this theory.

While advertisement does have an influence on our perception, preferences and behavioral choices, it isn’t the defining factor. There still is something called “Free will”. I know…shocking!


Study Finds no Increase

Before I jump into the inefficacy of modern advertisement in relation to consumer behavior, let’s take a quick look at a recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, specifically relating to the exposure of cannabis-related advertisement in Oregon.

The premise of the study was focused on whether or not the exposure to MJ ads will increase use. To sum it up;

Although the researchers determined that “exposure to advertising was significantly higher among people who said they had a marijuana store in their neighborhood,” such ad reach apparently doesn’t make much of a difference on whether people shop at those retailers or otherwise consume cannabis. [SOURCE]

In fact, the study found that having a cannabis dispensary in your neighborhood might actually be a good thing as it provides a point of reference for people to understand the potential risks involved with smoking cannabis – Paranoia, Couch Lock, etc.

I know that some of you reading this will say something along the lines of, “Those aren’t risk factors”, and yes, while these possible secondary effects do not occur with the majority of the population, it is still a factor for some. Thus, to be well educated on the use of cannabis and the possible side-effects is a good thing…and dispensaries provide this point of reference in relation to cannabis education.

This of course brings us to the next point….why doesn’t cannabis related advertisement work to increase consumer frequency?


The Inefficacy of Modern Advertisement

In this section I’ll be drawing from my eight-plus years of marketing experience. I have worked on virtually every niche there is, from online advertisement to radio ads. I know how to make an ad speak to a person and hopefully get them to take action after my message is delivered.

The problem with modern advertisement is that due to the reduction of costs on platforms like Google and Facebook, there is an influx of advertisement. Whereas two decades ago, the majority of your ads were limited to television, print media and radio, these days every person’s phone is an advertisement platform.

Whenever you’re going through your Facebook newsfeed, you’re likely going to be exposed to hundreds of ads. Some of them are blatant advertisement, others designed to only inspire engagement to be leveraged in a campaign to educate and motivate the consumer to take action later.

Thus, the over-saturation of advertisement has created a filter against the effects of advertisement. The only real purpose of modern advertisement is ‘brand awareness’. Someone will decide to smoke cannabis with or without an ad – the only purpose the ad serves is to provide a relevance to the consumer on where to buy.

Their decisions aren’t based on the ad itself, but rather their own internal conclusion on ‘what is right for my life’.

The Internet has drastically changed the way we view life. The concept of the individual is becoming more important. You can craft your reality to your liking and the only thing that any brand can hope for is that they are selected to be the provider for your specific needs.

Advertisement has become much ‘weaker’ over the years and seeing that everyone, including your grandmother, can create an ad for pennies…the influx of frequency of digital ads have corroded the efficacy of the medium.


The Bottom line

We live in a society inundated with advertisement. As a result, we have learned to ignore ads that do not relate specifically to our lives. The individualistic egocentric view we have developed through the help of Social Media allows us to only see what is relevant to us.

If you see an ad promoting drinking, yet you are not a drinker…you’ll ignore the ad and move on with your life. The ad won’t work in the back of your mind convincing you to abandon your personal preferences to suit the needs of the company. That’s just wishful thinking.









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