Currently, 47 states allow some form of CBD sales. The 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress passed this week, allows states to decide if CBD products made from hemp can be sold in their jurisdiction. However, it doesn’t protect the products from the Food and Drug Administration, which can penalize companies for making inaccurate health claims.
“We avoid talking about anything too specific about what the product will do,” said Cary Smith, senior vice president at agency North 6thAgency. “If you come from an educational standpoint, you skew towards less restrictions, and have a bit of a larger organic reach.”
With so much uncertainty in the market, Google and Facebook have shied away from allowing marijuana and CBD advertising, taking a similar approach to how they handle tobacco and related paraphernalia. When it comes to alcohol, Google prohibits companies from targeting underage users or promoting unsafe behavior, while alcohol advertising on Facebook has to adhere to local laws.
In the absence of Google and Facebook, ZenPup has been forced to find alternative ways to launch its products. The co-founders, who worked in marketing and public relations, are spending time building relationships with media companies, high-end dispensaries and pet accessory retailers, along with other brands that might be open to partnering with a CBD provider. They’re finding popular social media influencers, who can support the products organically on their accounts.
ZenPup has also focused on clean, attractive packaging so that it’s appealing for “shelfies,” or staged product photos that people post on their feeds.
“Those younger consumers are looking for something different from an aesthetic standpoint, that also is top quality and at a good price point,” said Nicholas Weatherhead, ZenPup’s chief marketing officer and co-founder.
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