Celebrities and brands are a unique symbiosis that results in large amounts of success. Such a strange relationship functions according to the benefits and needs of both sides. Celebrities get their endorsement money and airtime, along with their faces featured all over the media.
There have been many successful brand-celebrity collaborations, but few have ended up being legendary. LeBron/MJ/Kobe and Nike, Usain Bolt and Puma, Beyoncé/Kendall Jenner and Pepsi – these are just some of the example of celebrities becoming synonymous with their brand of choice. But what do the brands have to gain?
A struggling brand can rise, and a popular band can go even ever further. The cannabis industry is slowly falling into the category of things that can and will be branded. It has seen celebrity support ever since the early 1960s, and continued to see attention in the 80s and 90s.
Now, it managed to reach whole new heights in 2018. Let’s take a look at how celebrity influence can help medical marijuana branding and why a simple name on pop top containers may mean all the difference in the world.
Throughout the years
Before the discussion about MMJ containers and the different looks for dispensary packaging, medical marijuana was as far from a brand as something may be. Woodstock Festival is generally seen as the first unofficial marijuana fair, where a group of free-minded young people urged society to connect the terms marijuana and freedom.
The movement continued with bands like The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd championing the cause of connecting marijuana with popular culture.
This connection between celebrities and cannabis was strengthened as reggae music became a global phenomenon. However, there has never been a steeper rise in marijuana popularity than the one which was seen during the rise of rap music.
From that point onwards, celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have become ambassadors of the medical marijuana movement. Today, their influence means much more, rapidly creeping into the cracks of the business world.
The Chong method
When it comes to the cannabis cosmos, there isn’t an individual who is more respected than Tommy Chong. He is an integral member of the iconic comedy duo Cheech and Chong. With his influence, he popularized cannabis both as a recreational means AND as a medication for people from all walks of life.
He didn’t just settle being a symbol. He dove head first into the cannabis business, precisely at the moment of its infancy. By creating his line of products named “Chong’s Choice,” he aids the cannabis business in a multitude of ways, such as:
- He outsources his business by involving independent entrepreneurs who deal with cannabis.
- By choosing which independent retailer gets to be a part of the Chong’s Choice brand, he actively promotes only the best retailers.
- The power he holds allows him to focus on promoting organic farming products, especially those which were made using renewable energy sources, thus helping both product quality and the environment.
- Any company that thinks they can be a worthy member of the Chong’s Choice brand can apply. A free market is utilized for everyone to get the same chance at success.
- The roster of Chong’s Choice products is changing on a yearly basis, meaning that there is never a stale array of strains and products.
- Even though Tommy sells all the strains under his custom cannabis packaging, it’s up to the retailers to decide how best to promote their product and which stores it will be sold at. The only thing they have to do is adhere to Chong’s organic standards.
Willie to the rescue
As we’ve seen in the example of Tommy Chong, celebrities are now able to have an active role in promoting select brands. Willie Nelson, like Tommy, decided to create his own brand to help independent growers succeed.
The country legend has supported cannabis movements and retailers for more than 40 years. One example is the annual Farm Aid concert that has all the proceedings go to a fund that aids independent growers.
Willie also went a step further and created Willie’s Reserve, a brand which hand picks all the best farmers. It also sells and promotes them under its own name. The modus operandi of the company is separated into three different facets:
- Farmers are allowed to apply for membership at any time they want. The inclusion is based on both the company’s search and individual applications.
- Things like dispensary packaging, wholesale cannabis containers, and other details are completely handled by Willie’s Reserve – all the farmers have to do is use their freedom to grow and suggest new ideas.
- Aside from the support of the free market and carrying of the business burden, Willie’s Reserve has its own independent team of experts. They test, compare and contrast all the applications to ensure the market is stocked with quality products.
Even though Bob Marley isn’t with us anymore, you can find his name on MMJ containers and packaging, all around the world. This is thanks to Marley Natural.
Licensed by the Marley family themselves, Marley Natural doesn’t deal with just marijuana – they sell skin care products, smoking equipment, and merchandise. CBD products are also included, and they’re getting more and more popular as an alternative to THC-based ones.
Ladies haven’t fallen behind, either – Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth created their own lines of edibles and topical products. They only started in 2016, but their products are gaining traction more and more. And their example is just a start.
War on three fronts
Every celebrity involved with the cannabis industry helps the general culture in three different, but equally important ways:
- Marketing – Big names like Tommy Chong, Whoopi Goldberg, and Wiz Khalifa allow unknown farmers to get their product known and tried by the general public.
- Quality control – By investing effort into collaboration, celebrities ensure that only the best farmers get the most promotion, establishing a perfect meritocracy in the cannabis product market.
- Financial aid – Helping small cannabis businesses is like investing in startups. Just like Mark Cuban did with independent tech companies, so do celebrities promote and help cannabis farmers who work on a small scale. This gives birth to a regime of equal opportunities.
We at Green Rush Packaging invest substantial amounts of time and effort to participate in all three fronts of marijuana culture. We promote quality and market the best products, all while making sure the money goes to a good cause.