This Cannabis Brand Scored A Viral Hit -- Thanks To The TSA

An airport security tray is the last place consumers expected to see an ad for cannabis -- which is why it was so memorable.

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This story appears in the January 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As Brittany Hallett traveled through security at an airport last year, she saw something that made her stop. It was an ad for the dating site Bumble on the inside of a security tray. Hallett, the marketing director of cannabis distributor Organa Brands, couldn’t wait to tell her colleagues back at the office. The company was always looking for creative ways to advertise in a heavily restricted industry, and here was the solution -- right under her purse. 

Courtesy of Organa Brands

As is the case for other cannabis companies, one of Organa’s greatest challenges is marketing through traditional media. Every state, including those where weed is legal, has its own rules and regulations about advertising and marketing the plant. Any cannabis brand with a presence in multiple states must account for each state’s regulations in its marketing strategy. In addition, major digital platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Google Adwords, and YouTube have made it exceedingly difficult to promote pot brands. Recently, so-called “shadow bans” have limited organic search traffic on Facebook for any inquiries containing “cannabis” or “marijuana.”

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