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Marketing Campaign Critique: MedMen Store

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Recently, there was a campaign launched across Los Angeles by a MedMen store which mainstreams marijuana. The fight for marijuana legalization has been going on for years, but on January 1st of 2018, the official legalization of recreational marijuana has been set in California and a few other states in USA. This campaign created a lot of chattering in news channels, like: Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC, Time and so on. Some research companies have estimated potential economic boost that could be worth 6 billion dollars by 2021. On this occasion, MedMen launched a marketing-advertising campaign in which they already invested over 500, 000 dollars.

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On January 1st, people got ready for a truck that was wrapped in advertising for MedMen that was driving around the city for the day. The audience for this campaign is not only concentrated on youths and teenagers, but as MedMen’s vice president Daniel Yi states: “This is not about marijuana, this is about giving a choice and a safe and inviting environment for adults who want to make cannabis a part of their lives”. The ads, which were primarily spread on billboards over Los Angeles metropolitan area did not feature any provocative materials such as: buds, blunts or bongs. Instead, they were using close-ups of people’s faces with phrases like: “Heal. It’s Legal. ” or “Relax. It’s Legal. ” In addition, MedMen listed six stores that are located in Southern California and New York, and each of those stores selling different kinds of products that had nothing to do with marijuana. To enhance their campaign, they also stated that these stores will offer not only the actual marijuana buds, but other products like: skin creams, bath bombs and tea infused wit h cannabidiol (known as CBD). This move strengthens their campaign by offering people not just pure product itself, but also using cannabidol in their everyday activities and adding it to the things they like. Like adding it to a tea for example. As MedMen’s CMO, B. J. Carretta stated:” This isn’t about stoner culture, we want everyone to see that there are plenty of uses for cannabis and CBD, and that it’s super relatable no matter who you are or where you come from”.

In addition, introduction of these products helps selling stores to put the barriers for new entrants, thus, strengthen their positions in existing market as largest and trusted seller. So, the main goal of this campaign is to approach everyone who likes cannabis and want to start using it, by ensuring that people are entering a safe environment with normal people rather then people who treat marijuana smokers as drug addicts. This campaign uses the faces of people who are actually customers of these stores that offer cannabis products, to show that those are same people as you are and there is nothing to be ashamed of. This campaign uses their billboards with MedMen’s “faces” in the most lively and busy places like Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, around a Whisky Go Go nightclub.

A good marketing move was that they used faces of different race and age groups, to show a sense of unity no matter what your ages is or to which race or nationality you belong. Although, this whole campaign is made in order to support marijuana legalization movement in California, most of the people in California expressed positive feedbacks towards legalization and acquisition of such stores as MedMen. Miguel Vargas is one of the first customers who purchased legal marijuana from a store. As a 55-years old person on disability and arthritis, he stated that:” I am tired of taking pills, it’s going to be a lot easier for me and other people out there – people with chronic pain and cancer – to come and get what they need. ”

Another person, Alex Traverso, communications director for the state’s regulatory agency, the Bureau of Cannabis Control told:” I think there’s a mixture of pride and relief. ” Despite legalizing and making use of pot official, state still imposed regulations on buying cannabis. People who are not yet 21-years old cannot purchase cannabis or products including CBD. Moreover, the state invested in multi-million-dollar advertising campaign to warn and prevent residents from driving while high. This move in the legalization campaign demonstrates that the state really cares about legalization process and that they are trying to protect their actions and people involved in it. On the other hand, there are some people that show uncertainties about this government decision to legalize cannabis. One of the members of opposition group for legalization, Rachel O’Bryan, believes that allowing people to use cannabis puts their lives at risk. She states:” We really don’t know how people are going to react to marijuana use… but now we are going to allow it in public? It just seems it could lead to situations where issues could occur. ”

I saw this campaign recently, during the news about the legalization in some of the US states. In my opinion, MedMen’s Los Angeles campaign is very effective due to several reasons. One of the most crucial advantages for this campaign, is that it is supported by bigger government campaign on legalization. They distributed their marketing and advertising ads all over the city, using billboards in the most populated places, ensuring they will have enough people getting the information. To help this happen, they used a wide range of marketing techniques, such as an interesting strategy to wrap a truck in their advertisement and let it run around the city, as well as: two dozen outdoor ads, print in publications in OC Weekly, La Weekly, Angelino and other magazines, plus there was some digital distribution channels that were taking part in the campaign.

Moreover, MedMen along with their campaign, tightly linked their advertisements to a social perception of the people, like demonstrating different cultural and age groups, saying that it is legal, so this advertising can be related to anyone. On the other hand, this campaign is not just promoting usage of cannabis in a dull way, but with introduction of a cannabidol product line, cannabis appears to be the same usual product as any other product on the shelve. The key to success of this campaign was the amount of people exposed to it and supporting this movement. In general, this legalization campaign is making people’s life easier. They just have an opportunity now, to go to the trusted and reliable seller with guaranty, rather than buying and doing it “other ways”. Last but not least, these changes have a potential beneficial impact on government by improving financial sector.

To conclude, I can tell that this campaign is protected and backed up by many features such as listed above. It is not only about marijuana and getting stoned, it is about new step in people’s perception and choices that they make.

18 May 2020

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