A survey by Consumer Reports showed that 26% of Americans had tried CBD in the past two years, but in those two years, CBD has come a long way. These advancements need to be communicated to consumers, but advertising CBD products is tricky. The nature of the product complicates traditional marketing methods.
CBD has been placed in limbo since it was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. The market is unregulated, which leads to CBD products exploding from every direction and source without any form of quality control. With the market is so saturated, there are a plethora of people looking to make a quick buck without backing up the quality of their product. This paves the way for people to make claims from the authentic to the ridiculous. Thus, it is natural for CBD advertising to face heavy challenges in marketing from groups trying to do their best to keep the public safe.
There are overall restrictions placed on CBD companies by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) such as restricting what a company can say about their products. Additionally, social media companies have curtailed online advertising by placing strict policies on what can be said in ads. “At Tree of Life Seeds, we are committed to making a difference in this emerging industry. And we hope to accomplish that by educating potential customers about misconceptions using honest and accurate information,” said Jason Martin, CEO of Tree of Life Seeds.
Strictly speaking, the FDA’s goal is to protect consumers from confusing or misleading information and to do so, it must limit the terms companies use to describe their goods. According to a September 10, 2019 press release from the FDA, “it is illegal to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.”
If a company does use any of those terms or make any other claim that the agency deems as too broad, the FDA will send warning letters informing the company to stop making such claims and take down the content. This is understandable as the job of the agency is to protect the public from unscrupulous companies which are trying to make a buck without regard to their health and safety. But that makes it hard on the companies like us at Tree of Life Seeds to advertise our products.
Facebook, and its subsidiaries, continue to treat CBD as if it was contraband. Businesses face harsh restrictions on using Facebook ads, and that will be slow to change. Not only will Facebook deny ads, but they can also shut down a whole page. There are horror stories of companies having their business pages deleted even though Facebook’s policies do not explicitly outlaw CBD. Instead, per an article from The Verge, CBD content can be banned “by Facebook in its sole discretion.” This causes companies to shy away from posting ads on Facebook and even being extra cautious in what kind of content they are sharing.
Marketing CBD in this environment is tough because 74% of people trust social media for guiding purchasing decisions and harsh restrictions on marketing sets us back it a pre-social media marketing age, so we had to think creatively about how to get our message out.
Because of the restrictions placed by the FDA and the stranglehold Facebook has on marketing CBD, we are turning to guerilla marketing to get the word out. That is why we have launched the #CBDisLife program. Any customer can join the program to complete challenges and earn rewards for their work. These challenges include simple things like following us on platforms like Instagram and Facebook as well as more complex things such as our “Talk Like a Pirate Day Challenge” which involves taking a selfie with our products while wearing a pirate hat and sharing a picture of it on social media. The more complex a challenge is, the bigger the reward is for the customer. By getting the customer involved, we can grow our presence online and get our message out without using traditional marketing.
We want to bring information about CBD to the masses, both the quarter of the population that has used it recently and the three quarters who have no experience with it. We want to educate consumers on how quickly the quality of CBD is evolving. Plus, we need to engage with customers who have not experienced the benefits of CBD. Joining us at #CBDisLife allows you to engage with like-minded individuals who want to spread the benefits of Tree of Life Seeds and how beneficial our products have been for you. We want to help more people, and we are calling on you to help us help others.
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