Teaser ads: the “highs” and “lows” in the Cannabis market


 The phrase Sneak Peek appearing behind torn paper.

Teaser ads are frequently used to arouse interest in a product. They are different from traditional advertising, as they are designed to spark curiosity without giving too much away. This means that they are often minimal in scope; it might be a fifteen-second clip or a simple message such as “coming soon” positioned above a date. The intrigue is in the mystery. Big brands often use these types of ads as a frontrunner to their main campaign. They are used to build some kind of buzz around new products or services.

However, would such ad campaigns be a wise choice when it comes to unregulated products, such as cannabis goods? As the use of recreational cannabis is becoming more and more popular, cannabis-derived products and services are increasing in number, in health stores as well as online.

Keep reading to figure out the potential “highs” and “lows” of using teaser ads in the cannabis market.

Teaser ads in the cannabis market

A wondering woman surrounding by question marks
Make your teaser ads intrigue but not give the whole idea; remove CBD-related vocabulary

Unsurprisingly, the web is the main place for cannabidiol product advertising. Because of the contrasting laws on cannabis across the United States, cannabis-derived products are subjected to scrutiny by the US Food and Drug Administration. As a result, successful online cannabis ads tend to be fairly vague and may be considered as teasers. They do not provide much information on the product and avoid CBD-related keywords. In doing so, CBD ads which circumvent bans often adopt the following teaser ad strategies: 

  • Advertise from a separate page
  • Remove CBD-related vocabulary from their page or website
  • Avoid using “CBD” in the domain name
  • Closely target consumers who may have an interest in CBD oil

By following these basic guidelines, advertising on the main social media platforms becomes possible. 

Facebook: the social media giant no longer bans advertisers from promoting all CBD products on the platform. Topical hemp-infused creams can be advertised (but not ingestible products), as long as the advertisements do not directly feature the products themselves. CBD ingestible products are actually not FDA approved, although they are sold by a number of brands online. 

Instagram: Advertising CBD on Instagram is risky. Teaser ads that get the word out without showing too much are really the only way to promote CBD products without getting the advertiser’s Instagram account taken down. Building a teaser ad campaign on Instagram usually involves presenting the CBD business as part of the local community, rather than a sales business. Using geolocalization, sharing content relevant to the local area and local hashtags are all part of this teaser ad strategy. On Instagram especially, businesses can show through pictures, rather than name their products. This is an effective way to promote CBD without taking too many risks. 

Why use teaser ads? 

There are many pros to the use of teaser ads, evidenced by their success among major brands. But will these benefits translate into the cannabis market? Here is a run-down of some of the potential reasons why cannabis businesses may need teaser ads: 

  • Building intrigue

As with the launch of any product, the goal of a marketing campaign is to build excitement and curiosity. This can be particularly useful when launching a product that is fairly new to the market. Research also suggests that teaser ads can help reduce resistance to persuasion; they encourage open-mindedness towards products through surprise. 

  • Creating “buzz”

It’s no secret that advertising CBD products is difficult; a long list of obstacles impede the conventional advertising route. It is important, therefore, that a “buzz” is created around products that are difficult to promote through traditional avenues. Creating an aura of mystery and intrigue around a product can spark discussion and debate amongst friends and family. Your teaser ad then evolves through the word of mouth (the WOM strategy)

  • Reaching consumers in rough waters 

Most major online advertising channels still ban the promotion of cannabis-derived products on their platforms. This includes Instagram, Google, Amazon and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. Companies must, therefore, try to break through on smaller sites. Teaser ads can be particularly powerful at inducing that all-powerful click on less-visited webpages. 

  • Discretion

The murky realm of US state regulations and policies means that cannabis companies often have to deploy teams of lawyers when creating marketing campaigns. Showing particular imagery without explicitly stating that something is a cannabis-derived product may provide a potential loophole to this problem. 

  • Money-saving 

Lengthy video campaigns are often costly to make, in money and time. They also require resources that smaller brands simply do not have easy access to. A 15-second teaser ad video or poster can significantly reduce marketing costs. Additionally, social media teaser ads on Instagram or Facebook spread the word about CBD products, without running paid advertisement campaigns which would be shut down by the platforms. 

What are the results of using teaser ads? 

People discussing a brand (vector image)
Make people talk about your brand with the help of teaser ads

There are, therefore, many potential positive outcomes for CBD businesses when using teaser ads. Once a “buzz” has been generated and different consumers have been reached, what are the long-term consequences for a brand? These may include:

  • Increase in brand awareness 

The more engagement around your product, the more people will be talking about it. The power of word of mouth is valuable offline and online, such as in the sharing of a product across different platforms. Increasing brand awareness in this way is a very important step for any company, especially those just starting out. 

  • A market for future products. 

Popular consumer behavior suggests that people will often express more interest in future products, which are associated with greater uncertainty than those currently on the market. This is particularly relevant to the sale of CBD products, which have not been around for very long. The intrigue that teaser ads generate can help to propel interest in future CBD products. 

  • Product elaboration 

As teaser ads can supply a market for a company’s future products, this may encourage the development of new and innovative goods.  

  • Increase in consumer prices

Over time, an increase in demand can help move up product prices. Advertising, as a persuasive activity, has a very strong influence on setting competitive pricing levels. 

The downside of teaser ads

Due to the unique character of the cannabis market, however, there are a number of potential problems that could arise with the use of teaser ads. Here are a few of them: 

  • Unfamiliar territory

CBD products are one of the fastest-growing trends among consumer goods, however, this is a relatively new market. Big brands with reputations tend to succeed due to their familiarity. An ominous marijuana sign with a date beneath may be off-putting to some.

  • Other marketing techniques

The ban on advertising cannabis-derived products by major online platforms certainly presents some roadblocks. Using teaser ads on smaller sites may prevent companies from reaching wide and more varied audiences - audiences that could be reached through other forms of advertisement. “Influencer” sponsorships, in the form of social media posts, can help to avoid imposed restrictions. Podcast advertising is also on the up; over 40% of audiences range between 18-44 - a key market demographic of CBD consumers. 

  • Lack of research. 

There has been relatively little scientific research around the effects of cannabis-based products. Cannabis consumption is becoming increasingly normalized, and non-medical uses of marijuana are now legal in several states. Despite this, teaser ads don’t provide much information on the content of products, nor on how to use them. 

  • Intense creativity 

Producing an eye-catching poster or short clip is not as easy as it sounds. In order to attract interest, the ad must be visually appealing and original. Unlike a long television advertisement, teaser ads are highly reliant on an immediate connection with the consumer. Furthermore, tastes evolve quickly; it is essential to adapt to changing attention spans with fresh and novel ideas. 

  • Coordination is key

Teaser ads are usually released across a variety of platforms at once to maximize impact. This can be costly and difficult to organize, particularly if major online spaces will not allow your advertisement to be displayed.

In a nutshell 

We’ve now explored the different “highs” and “lows” of using teaser ads in the cannabis market. Whilst there are some downsides to the use of this type of advertisement, the benefits are clear. Teaser ads offer a lot of advantages for CBD businesses; they preserve discretion, circumvent bans, build intrigue, and might save a company some cash. Ultimately, as laws and regulations regarding cannabis sales and advertisements in the US remain murky, teasers ads are a valuable marketing option for CBD businesses.

Solver Author: Solver

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