Celebrity Cannabis Brands Continue To Struggle In The Cannabis Space
In many non-cannabis industries attaching a celebrity’s name to a brand helps boost the brand’s image, and with it, sales. It’s not exactly rocket science – the celebrity is well known, and their notoriety automatically increases awareness of the product, and in the eyes of some consumers, it boosts the credibility of the product. A celebrity brand, and to a lesser extent a celebrity endorsement, helps ensure success.
However, in the cannabis industry, a high-profile celebrity attaching their name to a brand does not necessarily ensure success for a multitude of reasons. The most recent example of that is Whoopi & Maya. The celebrity cannabis company, which was co-founded by actress Whoopi Goldberg, has reportedly ceased operations. Per CelebStoner:
Founded in 2016, the celebrity marijuana company Whoopi & Maya has closed its doors. The company has stoppped selling, manufacturing and marketing its products that were geared to women due to a split between the principles, co-founder and board member Rick Cusick tells CelebStoner.
“The company is ceasing operations immediately,” he says. “It’s with deep regret that we can no longer provide services to patients.”
The company made significant headlines in 2016 with its launch and was one of a batch of celebrity brands that were launched around that time, many of which are either no longer in business or are struggling to survive in the cannabis industry due to various factors, not the least of which is a skeptical consumer base.
Cannabis is now mainstream, and many cannabis consumers view celebrity cannabis brands as not being genuine. Instead, many consumers view celebrity cannabis brands as being nothing more than greedy cash-grab attempts.
Other issues that make it hard for celebrity cannabis brands are the razor-thin profit margins on products and the patchwork of legal and illegal states in the U.S. In other industries, celebrities can have one or two facilities making products, then ship them all over the country, or they team up with a national distributor with an already-established network of retailers nationwide.
However, in the cannabis industry, national celebrities have to team up with local companies in legal markets to help them produce and distribute products to a limited number of outlets. With already razor-thin profit margins, the situation often turns into a lot of (unsuccessful) cat-herding and with very little profit per unit to show for it.
The cannabis industry will need to significantly mature before successful celebrity cannabis brands become as common as celebrity brands in other industries. In the meantime, expect to see many celebrity cannabis brands come and go in the near future. Obviously, some brands will succeed, but they will likely be the exception versus the rule.