Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Starting student presentations with "Better Branding on the Big Screen: How the Marijuana Industry Can Use Product Placement to Build Increase Support"

3504As long-time readers know, students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar typically "take over" my class after Spring Break week through in-class  presentations on the research topics of their choice.  This year, of course, the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our usual plans by disrupting usual schedules and precluding in-person gatherings.  But, I am pleased and proud to now be able to report that my resilient students are still hard at work on their projects and will be presenting to the class online.

As long-time readers also should know, before presentations, students are expected to provide in this space a little background on their topic and links to some readings or relevant materials.  The first of our presentations taking place this week will focus on marijuana and media, as the title of this post highlights, and here is how my student has described his topic along with the background readings he has provided for his classmates (and the rest of us):

Reefer Madness is often credited for spreading anti-marijuana sentiment across the country.  Could modern movies depicting marijuana have the opposite effect?  This paper asks whether film can influence our opinions on marijuana use and legalization.  While evidence regarding marijuana specifically is sparse, other data shows that movies can affect the viewer’s opinion on a given topic.

If movies do have a persuasive effect, how can the marijuana industry harness this effect to build public support?  Luckily, a mechanism for doing so already exists: product placement. Many different companies (including tobacco companies) use already use product placement to produce a positive view of their products among consumers, subsequently leading to higher sales.  The marijuana industry can use “generic” product placement not to increase sales of a specific product, but to build a positive image of marijuana more generally.

My paper discusses legal and industry barriers that could prevent or minimize the industry’s ability to engage in product placement.  Taking these barriers into account, the industry must place its products strategically.  However, if done correctly, product placement would be a viable persuasive tool.

Marijuana Product Placement, Branding on the Rise as Marketing Execs Reimagine Legal Ganja: An article covering the recent trend of marijuana product placement in an attempt to portray marijuana use in more positive light. The basis of my paper and presentation is that this type of product placement can be used to help push public opinion to support for marijuana use.

Changing Real-World Beliefs with Controversial Movies: An article discussing how film effectively influences viewers’ attitudes and beliefs on a given topic and an analysis of a study attempting to quantify this effect.

Here’s Smoking At You, Kid: Has Tobacco Product Placement in the Movies Really Stopped?: Written just before the turn of the century, this law review article discusses the history of tobacco product placement in movies and possible ways to prohibit the practice.

High Art: The Subversive History of Stoner Comedies: An article discussing the marijuana-user community’s interactions with film, and how stoner comedies provided leading-role opportunities for minority actors even when the rest of Hollywood wouldn’t.

A Christmas Miracle: Washington Court Overturns Marijuana Sign Rules That Banned String Lights Spelling ‘Pot’: A Reason piece discussing a recent Washington state court decision concluding that marijuana advertising is “lawful activity” for the purposes of commercial speech.  The case is relevant because commercial speech only receives First Amendment protection if it concerns lawful activity.

‘Easy Rider’ at 50: How the Rebellious Road Movie Shook Up the System: a look back at Easy Rider’s impact on the filmmaking industry.


Assembled readings on specific topics, Film | Permalink


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