AD WEEK: Boutique Agency Opens to Help Cannabis Marketers Navigate the Brave New World of Paid Ads

Boutique Agency Opens to Help Cannabis Marketers Navigate the Brave New World of Paid Ads

Cannabis marketers like Acreage Holdings and Weedmaps have tried—and failed— to buy ads on America’s largest commercial stage, the Super Bowl.
And outside of that splashy showcase, players in the industry fight an uphill battle to advertise on the most popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, where shut-downs and shadow banning are common occurrences.

But the doors to traditional marketing outlets won’t always be shut, as more U.S. states join the 37 that have already legalized marijuana.

Prepping for that inevitability, along with eventual federal legalization, two media and public relations leaders have partnered to help brands navigate the broadening landscape.

A fresh, green marketing landscape

Rosie Mattio, who runs a 60-person marketing firm with more than 70 cannabis clients, is launching a boutique shop with Madison Fiore, a Hawke Media alum whose clients have included Miss Grass, Wyld, Papa & BarkleyEaze and other weed heavy hitters. (Hawke Media has landed twice on Adweek’s Fastest Growing Agencies list.)

Mattio+Fiore, based in the canna-friendly Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, will focus on paid media and performance marketing at a time when connected TV and major publishers like Conde Nast and Hearst are opening up to weed advertisers.

“As the industry matures, the opportunities are coming, and brands need to start figuring out what real CPG-style marketing looks like,” Mattio told Adweek. “But because it’s cannabis, it has to be done in a very nuanced way.”

Mattio, whose shop opened in New York in 2014 as one of the first to handle an all-cannabis roster, has added services beyond public relations over the years. Her company, now bi-coastal, also helps clients like Jane Technologies, LeafLink, HeadsetCuraleafHarborside dispensaries and others with their social media and influencer strategies and investor relations.


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