Now that Weeds officially broke the tabu about marijuana in mainstream media, should marketers go on pretending this segment doesn’t exist? The Italian branch of Publicis seems to believe this is now fair game, and is leading the charge with this disruptive campaign for a pizza delivery company.
Of course the issue raises some interesting ethical questions: acknowledging that smoking pot acts as a main booster for consumption of your product, and clearly aiming at this target, pretty much looks like legitimizing the practice. Of course the company would defend itself against any such liability by simply saying that they’re aiming at “tobacco” smokers. But we all know that tobacco won’t go alone in that rolling paper.
This move also raises some more pragmatic business questions. By winking at the college undergraduates, the brand is saying “we know what you were all doing before picking the phone to order 5 extra-large pizzas, and we couldn’t care less”, which establishes a bound with the target and boosts brand awareness. On the other hand, it is sure to alienate the “family” segment: how many mamas and papas would get pizza for their children from a place that advertises them in smoking papers? Although many may have smoked pot back in the day, only a handful would be willing to appear to condone the practice today.
Overall, this campaign is sure to make Fly Pizza a favorite in college dorms. The question is if the boost in revenue from this segment is enough to compensate for the losses with the 30’s+ crowd.