Taking the ‘hemp’ flag into the battle with social media giants

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Another skirmish in the broader battle to get “hemp” free in the social media space launched from Planet Boulder on Yahoo Finance (YF) earlier this month.

“We’ve been rejected by almost every single digital media company that’s out there,” Ari Sherman, founder of Colorado, USA-based Evo Hemp, a food and CBD seller, told YF.

More alarmingly, Sherman says he’s observed some big players getting preferential treatment from social media giants in allowing advertising for competing products.

Not a new problem

“They’re allowing them to advertise a few hemp products here and there,” Sherman said. “We couldn’t promote those exact same items,” Sherman told Yahoo, and the problem is not new.

Sherman told YF that Facebook has long rejected Evo Hemp’s ads for legal products such as hemp bars while running spots for competitors.

Noting his company sells its food products in well-known discount, retail grocers and even the Barnes & Noble Bookstore chain, he asks: “Why can I not advertise a product that is currently being sold in these stores?”

Sherman’s right to jump into this battle. And now.

As hemp’s profile rises across the many sectors it will impact, impressions are being drawn. Any good marketer will tell you there’s no better time to establish valuable brand equity than at the beginning of the boom buzz. And make no mistake about it: There’s a buzz on about hemp; from field to shelf. All over the world.

Hemp stakeholders need to ramp up the PR and hemp organizations should be pressing social media outlets to free the word “hemp” generally, and to ensure a level playing field for both big and small companies.

CBD: A different story

We’re afraid, however CBD is a different story. Aside from the regulatory questions raised when the FDA recently flashed its hand, there are serious image issues due to all the dodgy players on the market selling everything from penny stocks to questionable formulas made in their basements. It’s a problem in Europe as well as North America.

The social media giants are understandably cautious amidst the utter confusion that reigns in the public mind over CBD — and that’s all around the world. Don’t expect that to be sorted out anytime soon.

But “hemp” will be. It won’t be about freedom of commercial speech or any of that platitudinous rot. As the industry grows and takes a bigger seat at the table across a wide number of sectors, it’ll be about money. That’s something the social media giants will recognize sooner or later. – KR

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