The Power of Celebrity

Liz Filmer
30 Jul 2023

Celebrity brands in the California market outsold traditional weed brands by a decent margin in the first quarter of 2023, according to Seattle-based cannabis analytics provider Headset. This is despite celebrity brands tending to charge less than traditional cannabis brands.

The data compared 20-plus celebrity brands against a sample of more than 1,300 traditional cannabis brands, averaging $26,591 in monthly sales in the first quarter of 2023.

At least nine celebrity brands surpassed that figure, with five making a monthly revenue of well above $100,000. Cann is a low-dose cannabis drink manufacturer backed by Hollywood celebs, influencers and professional athletes and outsold standard cannabis brands by nearly 30-to-1.

Cann's investors and brand ambassadors comprise Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebel Wilson and former NBA star Baron Davis. Business-wise, celebrity brands help open doors and link with potential business partners, creating unique promotions and influential customer interactions.

Consumer-wise, celebrity endorsement and in-store PAs are in high demand. They can quickly boost brand engagement and, most importantly, sales.

"In 2023, influence is king. Celebrities have that equity with their fans and followers."

Los Angeles-based Cann is the uncontested champion in the celebrity cannabis brand arena, with average monthly sales in California of $751,760 during the first quarter of 2023.

However, instead of depending on celebrities with an already established link to weed like Snoop Dogg or Willie Nelson, Cann was savvy in choosing an alternative route.

"We thought if we could be the first cannabis brand to get a mainstream celebrity that does not have a public image associated with cannabis, then we could change the conversation and normalise it in a new and powerful way. "We could paint a picture that this is something for everybody. It's not just something for people who want to get high." Cann co-founder- Luke Anderson

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are stoner icons and singlehandedly revolutionised stoner comedy in the 1970s with their comedy duo.

Forty-plus years later, however, they remain relevant in entertainment and cannabis via their company, Cheech & Chong's Cannabis Co.

The brand came in at No. 13, with average monthly sales of $7,696 in the first quarter. Cheech & Chong's Cannabis Co. has also cleverly taken advantage of Marin and Chong's cross-generational appeal on social media.

Tress CapitalM has invested in the cannabis space since 2013. Based in California and New York, The firm's portfolio of celebrity cannabis brands includes:

Mike Tyson's "Tyson 2.0". No. 3 in California's hierarchies with monthly sales of $290,730.

 Former NFL running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams' "Highsman" is No. 9, with $51,133 monthly sales.

Rapper and actor Method Man's Tical is No. 10, with average monthly sales of $50,565.

The average celebrity brand lifespan may also rest on the longevity and relevance of the celebrity backing it. This is an ongoing challenge for those behind "Garcia's Hand Picked", who are at No. 7 on the list with monthly sales of $80,587 in the first quarter. The brand celebrates Grateful Dead frontman and cultural icon Jerry Garcia.

However, the brand has the bragging rights to say that it achieved a first in the industry. That being a crossover into mainstream music events. The Garcia brand confirmed a considerable sponsorship at The Peach Music Festival in Pennsylvania, where the company's logo was displayed on signage and on the main stage. 

Liz Filmer