Cresco Labs Inc. has signed a partnership with Spotify to place cannabis ads in the popular audio streaming service. Cresco later made the announcement saying that it is destined to become the first marijuana brand to place cannabis ads on Spotify. The platform runs a subscription audio streaming service and currently has approximately 220 million subscribers and more than 11 million artists and creators. The ads are intended to spread awareness of Sunnyside’s chain of dispensaries managed by Cresco Labs.
Cannabis ads to include 30-second audio plus in-app digital banners
Under the agreement, Cresco Labs will create 30-second audio ads that will be uploaded to Spotify. The campaigns will also include in-app digital banners that will help push sales to the e-commerce platform owned by the retailer. Specifically, the campaigns will target Spotify users and potential Sunnyside clients in the cannabis-legal Illinois state.
In a statement by the Cresco Lab National Retail President Cory Rothschild, the partnership is a thrust forward to the normalization of cannabis. He said it would help the company to showcase its product sophistication and the quality of marketing the brand has undertaken. Cresco Labs only launches cannabis ads in states where the products are legal. It uses a variety of metrics to track the success of its campaigns including things like.
- Total impressions
- Campaign completeness
- Discount code redemptions
- Website visits
- Podcast mentions
Cresco Labs is expanding its product portfolio
Cresco Labs is a fast-growing brand in the US and is investing heavily to expand its product portfolio. The company will be present at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago and the brand’s CEO Charlie Bachtell will address the attendants.
He will also speak at the ATB Life Sciences Institutional Investor Conference that will be held in New York later this year. In October, Charlie will address attendants at the AGP Annual Virtual Cannabis Conference. Sunnyside operates dispensaries in seven states across the US including Palm Bay in Florida.
Brands leverage audio streaming services such as Spotify
In recent years, many brands have been leveraging the popularity of audio streaming services to tap into the large market. This is one of the reasons why Cresco Labs decided to partner with Spotify, one of the leading audio streaming services with over 551 million monthly users.
Cory said the brand’s Sunnyside cannabis ads campaign strategy is developed in a data-based environment allowing top-in-class targeting and measurement. Choosing Spotify was intentional because the platform will help the cannabis brand launch compliance-based ads projected to deliver profits and add value to the brand’s core customers in Illinois. Sunnyside operates the highest share of dispensaries in Illinois.
Running cannabis ads in the US has been a challenge
The US federal government does not allow production, sale, or use of marijuana which makes it harder to run cannabis ads across the nation. The situation is made worse by the fact that marijuana is not legal in all states. Furthermore, each state where weed is legal runs entirely different sets of rules and guidelines which makes it harder to penetrate markets across the states.
In a story highlighting the challenges, Marketing Brew detailed how Cresco Labs runs a podcast ad strategy that is nuance-filled just as anyone would expect. Marketing Brew noted Cresco Labs’ key strategy targets where host-read and programmatic ads meet. It further reported that the cannabis brand launches its ads only in states where marijuana is legal and therefore marketing cannabis products in those states would be legal too.
Cresco Labs Performance Marketing senior director Matt Pickerel said the brand follows advertising laws to the letter ensuring all its content is compliant. Although the brand strategically inserts podcast cannabis ads, it only publishes them in states where the brand is licensed to advertise or sell.
Pickerel confirmed Cresco Labs had an agreement with Headgum that allowed the former to add pre-recorded host-read advertisements in states Cresco chooses. Pickerel added that the brand uses basic metrics to measure success since podcast ads in the industry are still very young.
Cresco Labs has set aside 15% of its marketing budget for podcast ads
Cresco didn’t enter into the podcast ads environment headfirst due to the existing rules. However, Pickerel said the brand dipped in more than a toe and set aside 15% of its marketing budget to be spent on podcast ads landscape. Cresco seeks to normalize and professionalize the marijuana market through consumer packaged goods. Cresco believes this approach will help develop a national brand and consumer-centered retail experience.
Pickerel added that at the same time, marijuana brands must act as stewards for the sector and keep an eye on legislative and regulatory-based initiatives. Cresco leads in the areas of growing, processing, and distribution of finished cannabis products. Through its scale and agility, the brand is working towards growing its brand portfolio nationwide. Currently, the company is running brands such as:
- High Supply
- Good News
- Wonder Wellness Co.
Apart from the brands, the company is also running well-performing dispensaries nationwide under the Sunnyside brand. Sunnyside invests in building customer trust and providing continuous education in a convenient and first-class environment. The brand operates 33 dispensaries in Florida and 14 in PA. In Illinois, the company has established 10 dispensaries, five in Ohio, one in Arizona, and four in NY and Massachusetts.
Last month, Sunnyside opened its newest branch in Palm Bay, Florida. During the opening event, Bachtell said Sunnyside’s vision is to expand operations and avail quality marijuana products in key Florida markets. He noted that Palm Bay is a highly populated city with more than 129,000 people. The city in Brevard County is located southwest of Orlando and this will allow Sunnyside to serve thousands of customers located across the state.
Cresco Labs also runs year-round community support programs to offer opportunities for engagement, economic support, investment support, and human resource development. It also supports legislative initiatives designed to help improve the marijuana market. Other programs supported by the brand include community outreach and SEED initiative efforts. The company seeks to create a robust and respectable marijuana market that every citizen appreciates.