Bethenny Frankel promises but doesn’t deliver line of Cannabis Products
Almost a year ago, reality TV “star” Bethenny Frankel announced her own line of Skinnygirl marijuana with the hook that her strain of pot wouldn’t cause munchies. Despite the requisite suspension of disbelief, Frankel actually has a shred of entrepreneurial credibility having created and sold a line of Skinnygirl cocktails in 2011 for an estimated $100m.
Link bait friendly articles immediately appeared in Us Magazine, Daily Beast, Daily Mail, etc., etc., but absolutely nothing since then. Whether this was just another example of sensationalist faux-journalism, Bethenny’s playing the press with a rumor she never intended to fulfill, or if she really intended to do it and just failed (so far) isn’t the point. Instead, it shows that as marijuana legalization spreads across the country more and more celebrities (both legitimate and not) will be looking to cash in. Caveat emptor indeed.
A second and equally relevant point concerns the role of brands and branding in legal marijuana. How swayed would a buyer be to try a marijuana product because it had been endorsed by Bethenny Frankel, Melissa Etheridge, or Tommy Chong? Not much we would hope. However if one looks at vodkas, the branding of say Grey Goose versus Sky or Absolute is everything since taste test after taste test shows that no one can tell the difference.
While it’s true that it always all starts with having a good product, even products that “sell themselves” will need to think about their branding as the industry chugs towards the mainstream and consumers with little time or inclination to really know which product is best use heuristics (such as name recognition) to make their purchasing decision and will need to invest accordingly. Stated another way, it’s the brand stupid!