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Marketing expert offers Tips on Cannabis Tourism Campaigns

Subtlety and T-shirts key in reaching target market without offending mainstream


June 12, 2015

NEW YORK, N.Y.  Legalized marijuana has created a gold rush of sorts for companies hoping to cash in on pot-related businesses. But reaching the audience loyal to cannabis is tricky, Max Smetannikov, CEO of the licensing and communications group MVG told tourism officials at the DigMe 15 Spend Smarter summit in New York.

“Subtlety is key,” said Smetannikov, whose company researched cannabis-friendly media as part of a licensing strategy for Britain’s popular Plain Lazy brand and Pepsi’s snack brand Funyuns.

Smetannikov told a panel of tourism marketing officials this week that there is still very little specialized media targeting cannabis users. And because of the still very sensitive divisions between those who do and don’t support legalized marijuana, ads in traditional media that make direct references to the drug are likely to be rejected.

“If you want to advertise that you are starting hemp tours in D.C. or Colorado, there is media to support you, but you are not likely to reach millions of people through it,” he said. “Or you can go a step further and create a more subtle message that only those who use marijuana will pick up on and use that in the regular media.”

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and four more and the District of Columbia have legalized partial use. By 2020, experts predict 14 states will permit non-medicinal use of cannabis.

This will present new challenges and opportunities, not only for people marketing marijuana-related business but also for traditional brands who want to target cannabis users.

“While we stay out of the legalization debate as a company, we definitely see value in being inclusive of this change in American lifestyle,” said Smetannikov. “To this end, we have developed a new line of Plain Lazy T-shirts, co-branded with Funyuns, which offer cultural commentary to this tectonic change in American stance towards drug legalization. Promoting these types of products offers a more benign way to start engaging cannabis-friendly audience.”

The T-shirts can be found on and Amazon.

About Marlboro Victor Group

Marlboro Victor Group (MVG) ( offers four interconnected sets of services: 1) communications (advertising and public relations), 2) consulting (building profitable partnerships), 3) licensing and 4) investment services. Outside of typical client work, we engage with fellow entrepreneurs to further our own set of services and develop new markets. Our philosophy is building and maintaining an A-Team of seasoned professionals distinguished by passionate client work.

About Plain Lazy

Plain Lazy (, a highly popular British street-urban, skate/surf lifestyle brand, has been developing unique, dynamic and cheeky designs, Plain Lazy is a light hearted reminder to find time to relax, have fun and enjoy life.  Founded in 1983, Plain Lazy is an offline and online clothing company which provides a wide range of slogan T-shirts, humorous hoodies, funky denim jeans, shorts, backpacks, and more.  Plain Lazy is based on promoting choice, encouraging freedom of expression and demonstrating individuality. Offering a vast and varied selection of messages, Plain Lazy allows the consumer to communicate with character. Happily spreading the ethos of the brand around the world, Plain Lazy is always looking for ways of making life lazier without compromising quality.

For more information please contact:

Dan Senkof

202 669 8549202 669 8549