Coming soon to a theater near you: more cannabis collabs
The once covert art of product placement in media like movies and television has become apparent. TV shows will feature a gratuitous, hyper-specific line about a model of a car, and movies will film a montage in a particular store.
But cannabis companies haven’t had equal access to this marketing stream. Hollywood licensing and intellectual property (IP) firm International Star Inc. may change that based on a recently released strategy for upcoming quarters. If successful, the approach could contribute to a shift in how cannabis and movies intertwine.
The newly released strategy centers on the expansion of celebrity collaborations and a unique approach to product placement. International Star pivoted to focusing on cannabis in 2022. A major coup came in February 2023 when it acquired Budding Equity, Inc.
“We are leveraging the relationships that we have built in Hollywood to acquire meaningful and monetizable IP,” Dan Rubin, CEO of Budding Equity said in a press release. “We are also pioneering a new method of product integration in movies, which we believe will differentiate us in the cannabis industry.”
Classic stoner film touchpoints
The Toronto-based firm has established itself between the movie world and the cannabis industry. With Rubin at the helm, Budding Equity has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations like Cheech and Chong Up In Smoke, and Pineapple Express.
The firm licenses IP from these and other stoner culture classics to third-party hardware companies to release specialty pieces. For cannabis products, the company partners directly with celebrities.
In the last six months, International Star has intentionally focused on producing its own IP rather than relying on licensing.. This comes with the freedom to alter and market products to its target consumers.
While Budding Equity clearly has the stoner classics on lock, it’s also pursuing films that skew towards Gen Z. The firm is already working with the creators of All My Friends Are Dead, an upcoming movie starring Jojo Siwa.
Cannabis media product placement in action
International Star boasts of exclusive product placement in the script in the 2023-2024 strategy, an approach that is becoming more normal in film and television.
It’s not just weed flicks that feature touches of the plant. Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That has had notable cannabis product placement in its second season.
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Miranda and love interest Che have a heated conversation amid a lit joint as accessories from Yew Yew and Hautebox chill on their coffee table. Later in the season, two characters attend a convention for widows where plant-based intimate wellness products from Quim are on display.
Normalization will bring more product placements and celebrity endorsements. With this strategy and the help of Budding Equity, International Star Inc. is trying to be at the helm.
“We aim to create a diverse range of high-quality, celebrity-endorsed cannabis products and accessories that captivate the market. By integrating aspects of the entertainment world into our cannabis offerings, we’re pioneering a whole new segment of the industry,” Nochum Greenberg, Interim CEO of International Star Inc. concluded.