Today’s “In the News” features a sampling of three recent articles with perspectives on the topic of cannabis brands tied to celebrities.
Snoop Dog Branded Cannabis Products by Atlas Global Reach Israel
In a recent press release (1), international cannabis company Atlas Global announced the arrival of its new brand “D*gg lbs” in Israel from Ontario, Canada. Atlas Global and entertainer Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus Jr.) entered a licensing agreement in February 2023 to use the Snoop Dogg name and image to create and sell a variety of cannabis products (1).
“The flower, hardware and overall experience have been shaped by consumer insights,” Bernie Yeung, CEO of Atlas Global said (1). “We’re really proud to drop these products in the market and to continue expanding Snoop Dogg’s lineup of cannabis products.”
“Consumers love Snoop, and our collective goal is to deliver premium products in all cannabis categories that will consistently exceed consumer expectations,” Yeung also stated (2).
Atlas Global currently operates two cannabis facilities and distributes products to seven counties (1). Snoop Dogg launched his own cannabis brand in 2015 and has signed other licensing agreements in the past (2).
“The D*gg lbs brand has sparked considerable interest in Israel and is anticipated to be eagerly embraced by patients upon its arrival,” the press release stated (1). “All flower is indoor-grown, hang-dried, and hand trimmed.”
Celebrity Cannabis Brands Outshine Traditional Brands
Earlier this month, MJBizDaily, a news source for cannabis business information, published “Celebrity marijuana brands outperform traditional brands, data suggests,” which featured the results from their analysis of 20 celebrity cannabis brands–including those associated with Justin Bieber, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, and Willie Nelson–compared to 1300 traditional brands in California in the first three months of 2023 (3).
“Celebrity brands in the California market–including Cann, Houseplant and Mirayo by Santana–outsold traditional marijuana brands by a healthy margin in the first quarter, according to data compiled by Seattle-based cannabis analytics provider Headset,” the article stated (3).
Some of the contributing factors that drive purchases, the article argued, are promotional events and in-person appearances, price point, and social media followers. It examined the marketing strategies and outcomes for several brands with celebrity ties.
“It’s no secret that celebrity-backed marijuana brands–such as actor Seth Rogen’s Houseplant or rapper Wiz Khalifa’s Khalifa Kush–can leverage legions of fans and social media followers to attract consumer attention and buzz,” the article said (3).
Debunking the Hype Around Celebrity Cannabis Brands
In a direct rebuttal to the MJBizDaily article “Celebrity marijuana brands outperform traditional brands, data suggests,” an opinion piece from Cannabis.net argued the data was misconstrued and that cannabis brands associated with celebrities do not noticeably differ than traditional brands (4).
Citing previous studies on consumer preferences, the article argued that consumers do not focus on logos or brands, but rather are driven by price, effect, and the distance to reach the product (4). The Cannabis.net dissects in depth the main arguments including the lower prices of celebrity brands and the effect of in-person promotional events driving sales.
“So having the celebrity actually there signing autographs and pushing his or her product is a big sales driver,” the article said (4). “Makes sense, but not repeatable on a daily basis with consumers…Did someone buy a Ric Flair Drip gummy because it was from Ric Flair or because it was 36% cheaper than the traditional, non-celebrity brand next to it on the shelf? ($14.91 vs. $23.14)”
“Celebrity brands have demonstrated their ability to attract consumer attention, drive sales at events the celebrity is at, and outperform traditional brands when every traditional brand is put in the data set, but is not a true comparison when you compare the top 20 celebrity brands to 1,300 non-celebrity brands,” the article concluded (4). “However, it is crucial to recognize that celebrity endorsement alone does not guarantee success, in fact, just the opposite. Additional factors such as product positioning, pricing, marketing strategies, and operational efficiency also play a vital role in achieving sustained growth and brand recognition. Celebrity brands must adapt and maintain relevance as the industry continues to evolve to ensure long-term success in this competitive landscape.”