Justin Beiber. Jim Belushi. Jay-Z. Mike Tyson. Jaleel White (yes, Steve Urkel!). Willie Nelson. Gwyneth Paltrow. What do all these celebrities plus dozens of others have in common? They all have their own or are associated with brands in the cannabis space.
A recent article in The Drum, a leading global publisher for the marketing and media spaces, says that celebrity owned and endorsed cannabis brands will be one of the top five cannabis marketing trends in 2023. At Proven Media, as a national public relations firm specializing in marketing and communications for the legal cannabis industry, we agree that celebrity involvement in the cannabis sector is here to stay. In fact, recently, our very own CEO and founder, Kim Prince, recently talked to KJZZ’s Mark Brodie about the impact celebrity owned and endorsed cannabis brands have in the sector.
The positives of celebrities in cannabis
During the interview, Kim shares some key points to take into consideration when it comes to celebrities in the cannabis sector. One key takeaway on the topic is that, like many cannabis consumers, celebrities and cannabis have always been connected—many just weren’t able to safely talk about it until now.
Now that cannabis is legal in multiple states, including Arizona, and there’s a push for federal legalization, the stigma associated with marijuana usage has significantly decreased. Therefore, we’re seeing some expected celebrity endorsers—Willie Nelson for example—with some unexpected names, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart.
As a cannabis marketing and branding expert, Kim is surprised to see the onslaught of celebrities who have moved into the cannabis space. She notes though that authenticity is the key to being successful. Celebrities who have been previously known for their cannabis usage and who are authentic consumers and advocates often give more credibility to their brands.
Some of drawbacks to celebrity owned and endorsed marijuana brands
While celebrity owned and endorsed cannabis brands may be a hot marketing tactic, that doesn’t necessarily translate to more sales. According to Headset data, only one celebrity backed cannabis brand (Seth Rogan’s Houseplant) broke the top 100 brands in 2021. During the interview, Kim shares that this is due in part to the fact that today’s cannabis consumer is value-driven—in this economy, they’re looking for the best deal, which isn’t always a celebrity owned or backed cannabis brand.
In addition, the cannabis industry, due to regulation, doesn’t play favorites with celebrities. Just like all cannabis investors and companies, celebrities’ brands have to be compliant state-by-state.
The bottom line: celebrities and cannabis
All the pros and cons together, celebrity owned and endorsed brands are here to stay—and each one may make the topic of cannabis and the industry more approachable to their fans.
Being involved in the cannabis sector can also add a bit of fun—or as Kim says, spice—to a celebrity’s reputation. Celebrity endorsements of cannabis brands may not always equate to an amazing surge in sales, but it is a fun novelty and a way to put the spotlight on the industry.
You can listen to the insightful and fun interview here.
Contact Proven Media today for more insights on cannabis-related marketing and communications.