Newspapers are having a tough time wooing advertisers these days, but there could be a new category of marketer emerging in the marijuana industry.
Leafly, a website and mobile app that lets users research strains of cannabis and dispensaries, ran a full-page in the New York Times’ Sunday edition. The ad, which congratulates New York state for recently legalizing medical marijuana, is Leafly’s first ad in a mainstream publication. Leafly, owned by private equity firm Privateer Holdings, has previously run ads in cannabis industry publications aimed at patients and doctors.
Leafly, a website for users to research different strains of cannabis and dispensaries, has purchased a full page ad in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
The ad depicts a man and a woman who each used a different strain of marijuana for a medical condition. It carries the tagline “Just Say Know,” a reference to former first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign in the 1980s.
Leafly Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy said the ad is designed to encourage patients to use Leafly’s resources to make informed decisions about cannabis. Leafly’s Web properties generated four million visits in June, with traffic increasing 10% to 15% month-over-month, he said.
“One of the ways you knock down the Berlin Wall of Prohibition is by talking about cannabis in a mainstream way,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We’re continuing to look at other mainstream publications that would be open to this type of advertising.”
Leafly began working on the creative for the ad about 18 months ago but decided to run it after the Compassionate Care Act — allowing medical marijuana –was passed in New York last month and the Times a few weeks later published an editorial in favor of repealing the federal ban on marijuana. Leafly is also concurrently running an online campaign on the Times website.
The rate for a full page color ad in the Sunday New York Times costs around $200,000. The Times declined to comment on the price of the Leafly ad.
The Times says it has previously run ads for marijuana advocacy groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law.
“We accept ads for products and services that are legal and if the ad has met our acceptability standards,” said New York Times spokeswoman Linda Zebian, adding that the Times can decline an ad if it is misleading or fraudulent in some way. “Each ad is evaluated on its own merit,” Ms. Zebian said.