"Flower by Edie Parker" is launching an ad campaign on 4/20 based on the famous "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" ads for Virginia Slims cigarettes in the late 1960s and '70s. The ads are going up in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Boston and include the brand’s nickname, Weedie Parker, and models posting with twin packs of pre-rolls called Best Buds.
“These ads were so groundbreaking—the Virginia Slims woman was stylish and independent and bold. But in 2022, she doesn’t smoke cigarettes. She smokes flower,” Brett Heyman, founder of handbag-maker-turned-cannabis-company Edie Parker told Adweek.
“If you’re a cannabis brand, you must participate in 4/20,” Heyman added. “It’s one of our biggest marketing initiatives of the year next to New York Fashion Week, and it’s become what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are to fashion and other goods.” (This year it's a "Weed Wednesday" too.)
"Not incidentally, women are one of the fastest growing and most coveted demographics in the cannabis market, according to Headset, with their numbers swelling 55% over the last two years," notes T.L. Stanley in the Adweek article.
Another article from Stanley notes, "The holiday, with its origins in Northern California and Deadhead stoner culture of the 1970s, has become famous for its deals, with retail consistently slashing prices 65% more on 4/20 than on an average day." Also, Insights group Cassandra reports that nearly 50% of surveyed Gen Zers plan to celebrate 4/20, with 78% saying society is more accepting of cannabis these days.
Cannabis brand Miss Grass reports that 1 in 4 in the younger demos say they plan to invest in a cannabis brand or stock. They also think it’s “crucial to acknowledge the racist history of marijuana” and say brands need to step up on that issue. Gen Z “expects brands to address prior generations’ inequities related to cannabis,” according to Miss Grass founder and CEO Kate Miller. “Every brand, every leader, every executive working in this space—it is their responsibility to do what they can to right the wrongs of the war on drugs.”the site offers only accessories like stash boxes, slimmed-down bongs, glass pipes in the shape of fruits, table lighters with matching ashtrays, and handbags with built-in lighters and stash pockets. These and other items, like an $85 heart-shaped one-hitter necklace, are also available at the company's boutique in NYC.
Their ad campaign is intended to be "more an homage than a replication of yesteryear’s Virginia Slims ads, which successfully—some would argue diabolically—co-opted feminism to sell Big Tobacco," says Adweek. Virginia Slims, a product of tobacco behemoth Phillip Morris, sponsored women's tennis tournaments from 1970-1995, launching the career of many players like Billie Jean King.
“Running paid marketing is really frustrating because of the restrictions on what you can and can’t talk about as a cannabis brand,” Heyman said. Indeed, the website for their accessories contains the standard headshop disclaimer, "All Products for Tobacco Use Only," along with the line, "Here's to making the future of cannabis more feminist, fabulous, and fun." We can go for that.