Munches on 4:20 go mainstream

Category: Marketing Date: Thursday, 20 April 2017 14:56

If you and your pals have celebrated the 4:20 high holiday for marijuana hard and have the munchies today fear not. Every other junk food brands marketing professionals are working to ensure that in your haze, you'll reach for their brand of “blazed”, formerly known as glazed doughnuts, as well as Pizza, burgers and  so on, proving that this holiday is becoming as commercialised as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

4:20, as the holiday is known, is when brands want you to get baked on their goods. Even the mainstream brands, such as Pepsi, Chipotle, Burger King and Denny's, have all alluded to 4:20 on social media in previous years.  And as countries slowly continue to legalise marijuana, acknowledging 4:20 can still be a tricky business move. So brands do it in a wink and a nod for consumers who know that "fried" doesn't exactly refer to chicken, but ensure they stop just short of spelling it out in fear of pushing away their other customers. 

Take for example Ben & Jerry's "Half Baked" and "Phish Food" ice-creams and "Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies," which capitalise on the spirit of 4/20. "Jerry and Ben started the company in 1978, and they were definitely two hippies that were — enjoying life, as they say," said spokeswoman Lindsay Bumps.

This holiday, Ben & Jerrys are also introducing a new menu item: The Chill-aco, a waffle-cone taco with two scoops of ice cream and caramel drizzle.

 "it gives it that ooey-gooey component," Bumps said. "I think a lot of brands aim to stand out on this day. We're really known for our tongue-in-cheek humour but it's pretty coincidental that coming out on the 20th," said Bumps, the Ben & Jerry's spokesperson. "That's the official line."

The cannabis industry however, doesn’t love the pile-on from junk-food brands, which they say promotes negative stereotypes about the lifestyle. Some say Cannabis is a wellness product. 

We do not want people to believe that you just get munchies, and you're just reaching for junk food. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle,
said Olivia Mannix, chief executive of Cannabrand, a marketing agency for cannabis companies.

Bottom line is cannabis smokers are a really good spending demographic that encompasses everything from 21-year-old stoners, to CEOs, to your grandma. But it will take time for all your favourite brands to be blunt about it as even though Ben & Jerry's has a good sense of humour on Twitter, they have to be careful not to go too far.