MMC Advertising Method of Choice? Print

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This weekend, I picked up a copy of Westword for the first time in probably a decade. I’ve been reading the Denver-based alternative weekly newspaper online over the past few months, primarily to keep tabs on medical marijuana developments. But I figured I’d check out the print edition to get a closer look at the ads run by medical marijuana centers.

I swear, the medical marijuana industry is now paying Westword’s bills.

Of 52 ads on the full-color back page, I count 15 that are directly tied to the medical marijuana industry. What’s more, dispensaries, hydroponics suppliers and head shops account for nine of the 14 larger ads.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Flip open the latest issue of Westword and you’ll find eight pages of ads under the heading “Westword Medical Marijuana Services” and another three pages of ads by dispensaries near the back of the magazine. My rough count is 72 medical marijuana ads in the 88-page issue. One MMC – Garden of the Gods Inc. – even has a full-color, two-page spread.

Westword and other alternative weeklies have long run classified ads for hydroponics and weed (not to mention escort and “massage” services). But the sheer volume of ads is still surprising. In an age when companies are increasingly using the web to advertise, it’s interesting to see an industry that still relies heavily on print. I’ve heard from dispensary owners that advertising in Westword does indeed pay dividends, although to do so effectively you have to compete on price by promoting sales.

You can get a taste of the look and feel of the ads by clicking on this link.