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OPINION: America’s most famous weed smoker had us fooled when he said he was giving up “smoke.” It turned out to be one of the best advertising moments of the year.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Snoop Dogg is America’s most famous weed smoker. He’s like the face of modern marijuana lovers, a generation of people who get high and stay mellow while still handling their business. I wrote about him for Rolling Stone about 20 years ago, and I’ll never forget riding in his car with him, “zipping down a desolate highway in his dark-blue Porsche Carrera, carefully rolling a blunt with both hands as he steers with his knees.” We did a great “Star Stories” episode about it, but I digress.
It seems like everyone loves Snoop, and everyone knows he stays high. So millions were shocked to hear Snoop say on Instagram that he was quitting weed. Well, actually, he said, “I’ve decided to give up smoke,” which sure sounded like “I’m quitting weed.” Billboard’s report on it was titled “Snoop Dogg Says He’s Kicking His Sticky Icky Habit to the Curb: I’ve Decided to Give Up Smoke.”
Turns out it was all a marketing stunt.
Snoop is working with a company called Solo Stove, which makes smokeless stoves. Right now, they’re selling a Snoop stove. It was an advertising ploy and an extremely successful one that pulled in tons of eyeballs and tons of free media. Business schools might teach this campaign in marketing classes one day. Millions of people heard that Snoop was going smokeless and interpreted that to mean America’s most famous smoker was quitting. There was a collective gasp. Then, a beat later, Snoop said, just kidding, and in the blink of an eye, millions of Snoop fans became aware of what Solo Stove is. I had never heard of them before all of this.
Having Snoop pretend to be quitting created far more attention for the campaign than a traditional rollout could have. And the specific language of the campaign fits with the product, driving home its message about being smoke-free. After we saw the reveal, we remembered that Snoop said he was going “smokeless” not weed-less, which underlines smokeless in the consumer’s mind.
I have only one critique. Solo Stove had a creative idea that was really, really good. So good that they should have saved it for the Super Bowl. That’s the biggest stage of the year for ads. That’s where your superconcepts go. Otherwise, you’re not maximizing the reach of your most amazing idea. This ploy got them the attention of millions, but doing it during the Super Bowl could’ve landed them the attention of billions.
I know exactly how they could’ve done it. They could’ve had Snoop stare right into the camera. Light him dramatically from behind. Use black and white film. Do a 15-second, serious-looking, serious-feeling, no joking-allowed PSA where he announces that he’s quitting smoke. Effective immediately. That airs in the first quarter. America flips out. In the second quarter, he slides back in with a 60-second ad. Now he’s in a colorful backyard scene. He says what he meant to say is that he’s quitting smoke as in he’s now rolling with this smokeless stove. Mo money, mo money.
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.
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The post Snoop did not give up weed after all. He gave us a brilliant marketing campaign. appeared first on TheGrio.