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Digital OOH Advertising Only Seen by Cannabis Consumers 

“Green Rush,” the Most Prolific Industry Booms in History

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Enlighten digital screen in cannabis store

OOH Positioned For Huge Market Share As Cannabis Goes Mainstream

While we have seen promising growth in the out of home (OOH) industry over the course of the last five years, it has often times remained an afterthought to large corporations and advertising agencies.  However, as the flood gates begin to crack open in the cannabis market (see the latest news regarding Coca Cola’s interest in the industry as a perfect example), #OOH is positioned to be a major player in cannabis brand building, as well as, connecting mainstream with this coveted demographic.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this “green rush” has already shown growth and opportunity rivaling the most prolific industry booms in history.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this “green rush” has already shown growth and opportunity rivaling the most prolific industry booms in history.

This boom will be a boon for advertising mediums serving the coveted and growing cannabis consumer demographic as both cannabis and mainstream brands look to quickly find a place in the hearts and wallets of the canna-culture.

We have seen cannabis product brands backed by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson use crafty marketing to quickly establish strong brand recognition.  While others such as O.penVape have spent millions on brand building, including being a named sponsor of the famous Red Rocks music venue in Denver, Colorado.  But brands that every day consumers are familiar with are not staying on the sidelines of this early mover frenzy.

Already this year, Jack in the Box made news by directly promoting its fast food chain to cannabis consumers with Munchie Meals and Nike, perhaps the greatest advertiser in apparel history, has promoted the cannabis culture on multiple occasions, including rolling out a cannabis themed shoe this past year.  But Jack and Nike are not the only mainstream brands actively targeting this demographic.  Many brands have made nods to cannabis consumers like Taco Bell’s fourth meal and an array of brands making subtle comments via social media.  Others have taken a more aggressive approach such as Netflix partnering with a Los Angeles dispensary to offer strains inspired by its shows and Totinos purchasing a number of billboard around the cannabis holiday 4/20.

There is an understandable appeal in targeting this ever-growing demographic.  The average cannabis consumer is educated, impulsive and has disposable income; inherently the dream target audience for media.  However, and this is a relatively big however, cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States and most states that have legalized cannabis have implemented stringent advertising restrictions.  So, in steps OOH as the perfect solution for reaching the cannabis consumer within the confines of the law.

For the foreseeable future, cannabis products and dispensaries will be required to navigate a restricted advertising landscape.  Cannabis brands are currently excluded from advertising on national television, Google Adsense, most social media platforms and the most popular print online publications.  This not only brings traditional billboards and place-based signage to the front of the advertising list; OOH companies, outside of niche publications, are some of the only ad space available for these brands.  These legal restrictions serve as a huge market force in favor of OOH, limited the available ad space and providing an incredible opportunity for savvy OOH providers.

legal restrictions serve as a huge market force in favor of OOH

On the other hand, while mainstream brands have a larger supply of advertising space, those that see the huge value in promoting to the cannabis community have sought to utilize largely covert tactics; leveraging localized and small reach advertising vehicles. However, these risk averse tactics often leave value on the table with creative campaigns like Totino’s #betterwhenbaked.    Having spent hundreds of millions on building brand equity, these multi-billion-dollar brand names seek an advertising medium that will minimize risk of harm to the brand.  Again, the solution is OOH, and place-based networks in particular.

As more and more brands begin to take the calculated risk of being a first mover to gain the acceptance and following of the illusive cannabis culture, there are ways to hedge risk to brand equity while still reaching millions of cannabis consumers with an unadulterated message.  These companies can advertise on digital real estate that is only seen by cannabis consumers.

advertise on digital real estate that is only seen by cannabis consumers. 

To put this OOH advantage into perspective, ‘High Times’, a popular cannabis magazine and website is, as the title alludes, viewed in large part by only cannabis consumers, but is not limited to the 21+ crowd nor ensured to be seen by only cannabis consumers, whereas, place based advertising within the four walls of a dispensary, where only of-age cannabis consumers can legally gain access, a brand is assured that its message is only seen by legal cannabis consumers.  This offers a huge advantage for those bold brands looking to reach cannabis consumers with a tailored message without fear that their advertisement may be seen by the young brand loyalist or the anti-cannabis smear artist.  It serves as the perfect medium to target an extremely lucrative demographic…and only that demographic.

For example, as an early mover on this marketing trend, Enlighten TV, an in-store media network, has already partnered with hundreds of dispensaries and cannabis friendly locations across the nation and is garnering millions of monthly impressions.   In working with their many listed advertisers, the company preaches proper education, brand protection and the power of point of sale advertising.In short, out of home companies like Enlighten have an incredible opportunity.  The cannabis industry continues to see growing interest as its popularity and reach increase across the US, and, for the first time in a long time, OOH is sitting in the leading position to be the advertising medium of choice for the fastest growing industry in history.  OOH will be at the forefront of building brands and showcasing products to the 50+ million in the cannabis community.








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  1. […] Digital OOH Advertising Only Seen by Cannabis Consumers  […]

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