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Jack in the Box Blazes a Trail with Weedmaps Partnership

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Jack in the Box has never been subtle about its ties to cannabis culture, from its Munchie Meals and Wakey Bakey Hash to its past collaboration with Snoop Dogg’s digital media platform Merry Jane.

The Southern California-based chain also aired a notorious ad in the mid-2000s featuring a clearly stoned dude who was stymied by indecision in the drive-through. Jack, the brand’s wise-cracking namesake, co-starred as a talking dashboard bobblehead, helpfully suggesting the guy order 30 tacos.

For the upcoming weed extravaganza that is April 20, the fast food restaurant plans to dig even further into the cannabis world via an industry-first partnership with Weedmaps.  

Jack in the Box has set up a storefront on Weedmaps, which goes live this weekend, hyping the return of the popular Pineapple Express milkshake and the addition of a pineapple-infused Red Bull drink. 

In doing so, the fast feeder becomes the first food brand to make a media buy on the popular site where cannafans go to research weed strains, locate dispensaries and set up deliveries.

“Some brands dip their toes into 4/20 with a lighter execution—something with a wink and a nod,” Ryan Ostrom, Jack in the Box’s CMO, told Adweek. “We want to put a stake in it and own the moment for quick-service restaurants.”

Knowing the target audience is key, Ostrom said, as is listening to public sentiment as cannabis legalization continues to roll out across the country.

“We understand what’s going on culturally in various states and nationwide, and we’ve done a lot of research with our guests,” Ostrom said. “For a certain segment, 4/20 is an important holiday, and historically we’ve been there.”

Busting stereotypes

An alliance with a mainstream brand is another step toward normalization for Weedmaps, according to the platform’s CMO Randa McMinn.

Jack in the Box’s media buy on Weedmaps includes a landing page and banner ads.

“To see household brands like Jack in the Box leverage its potential indicates how negative stereotypes around cannabis have evolved,” McMinn told Adweek. “We hope this trailblazing approach charts the way forward for other beloved brands to engage the growing cannabis consumer market effectively.”

Non-cannabis brands have appeared on Weedmaps in the past, with smaller one-time ad buys. The Jack in the Box deal includes a landing page and banner ads, reportedly the most extensive placement from a brand outside the weed ecosystem.

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