With #VerHIGHzon, T-Mobile Shows Companies How to Do Pot Humor
I was a slap-happy T-Mobile customer before, but now, after hearing that the company sent out a box of rolling papers to certain media sites with memes bad mouthing #VerHIGHzon ... I love you even more, John Legere!
Yesterday, the Washington Post was all about pointing out that brands like to coyly capitalize on 4/20 and the munchies surrounding the holiest of high days with a bunch of carefully crafted copy. Companies like Chipotle, Burger King, and Denny's have quietly nudged at the fact that they are 420-friendly, while still maintaining the appearance of a "respectable" brand — whatever that means.
The Post claims that companies are sneaky about admitting pot acceptance because it's a tricky business move. One where company spokespeople are afraid to bluntly state any association with marijuana for fear of pushing away customers who aren't so 4/20 friendly. Yes, pot is rapidly becoming a very trendy and hot topic as more and more states legalize it, but there's still a fine red line of what is currently "acceptable" to say about the plant when it comes to corporate advertising.
Case in point: Ask any one of these brands what it is, exactly, that people are celebrating on 4/20, and you'll make tricky work for its spokesmen, who have to acknowledge the 'holiday,' but don't want to cross a line for their corporation by actually, you know, acknowledging the holiday. Which leads to clinically worded, coded emails like this one, from Totino's Pizza Rolls spokesman Mike Siemienas: 'Totino's does some regional promotions focused on current events in specific markets,' he said. 'We are running a similar campaign this year by celebrating our fans who love pizza rolls.'
As companies shy away from freely admitting any association with the holiday, it's refreshing to find a company like T-Mobile that doesn't shy away, but instead, actively embraces 4/20 for all the wonderful hilarity that it is.
I mean, after all, this is probably going to be marijuana's branding breakout year, and companies out there should really take a hint from John Legere and T-Mobile on how to become a blunt marijuana-friendly brand leader. Especially, when it comes to using the holiday to call out a telecommunications competitor like Verizon for all the shady moves it likes to throw at customers.
Verizon scheduled the release of its Q1 earnings for today in what Legere calls a "half-baked choice" for the company that at the end of Q4 2016 lost more customers to T-Mobile, and has for the last three straight years according to the company. Huh, makes you think that maybe T-Mobile has got the right idea and that Verizon really has been VerHIGHzon this whole time.
A T-Mobile blog post, titled "#VerHIGHzon Earnings," says Verizon's choice to release its earnings today is a half-attempted, coy way to be "cool" and earn some credibility with pot smokers. Legere, instead, is going full-on 4/20 today on Twitter, exploding with a plethora of memes calling out Verizon's stop short way of celebrating the holiday.
It looks like T-Mobile's CEO's very blunt way of advocating for pot acceptance is working though, as the company is currently the top-rated cell phone carrier in the country. All you companies out there shying away from 4/20 might want to learn something from the man who sent rolling papers to GeekWire (and also to us here at Gadget Hacks).
Not to be blunt ... but we haven't invented those [rolling papers] yet. But, feel free to use one of their #VerHIGHzon bills. ;)
Anyone hungry? What are your go-to companies for the munchies? I know it's not all Phish Food and Wendy's 4 for $4! Dish it out in the comments below!