Know About Adult Advertising
Industries that produce products that are legally permitted only for adult use often have to deal with additional hurdles when trying to advertise. Both the federal government and individual state governments play a role in creating a regulatory framework for adult advertising in the United States. Restrictions can vary based on the type of product and the advertising medium. In some cases, private platforms will even enforce additional restrictions above and beyond what is legally required. If you own a business that specializes in age-restricted adult products, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about adult advertising.
What adult products often face advertising restrictions?
Even though the production and sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) was legalized in the United States through the 2018 Farm Bill, that doesn’t mean you can advertise CBD products everywhere. Though you may not find many paid CBD advertisements on major media platforms, you can still find more information about brands and products online.
When you Google products like Select CBD, you’ll be able to find detailed reviews of their products on several websites dedicated to covering the cannabis industry. Blogs, reviews, and news articles are permitted to cover cannabis-related content, as these types of content aren’t strictly considered advertising.
If you run a company that deals in alcohol, like an alcoholic beverage distributor, you will have your advertising scrutinized by regulatory agencies like the FTC. However, regulations on alcohol advertising on a federal level are voluntary and self-imposed. The majority of restrictions concern depictions of or promotion of underage drinking. Some states have their own additional restrictions, but they can vary significantly.
How can you successfully promote adult products?
When dealing with alcohol, your advertising strategy may need to adjust depending on the market you’re in. While many federal restrictions are voluntary, state-level restrictions can include bans on placing advertisements near schools and college campuses, targeting minors, an association of consumption with athletic prowess, and making any other type of false claim. Despite the regulatory environment, companies that deal in alcohol can still advertise in a variety of ways both on and offline.
Cannabis products can be a little more difficult to promote. While some states restrict certain kinds of cannabis advertisements, many haven’t even begun to create regulations yet. This gives businesses that sell cannabis products like CBD, as well as dispensaries, some much-needed options for in-person and television advertising.
Paid advertising, especially online, is often an obstacle for cannabis companies. Google itself doesn’t permit advertising marijuana, and Facebook’s ads don’t allow promotion of illicit or recreational drugs. Many industry professionals say the most reliable way to grow your business without being stymied by regulations is to use SEO and organic content to drive traffic and expand your audience.
However, even with organic social media posts, content that appears to be too explicitly promoting cannabis can get flagged or removed. This often results in brands having to be vague about what they’re advertising. These inconsistently applied rules often leave companies guessing. If you own a cannabis business, be prepared to navigate the confusing and ever-shifting regulations on advertising in the digital space.
Companies that sell age-restricted adult-use products like cannabis and alcohol often need a significantly different approach to advertising. The federal government, state government, and individual private businesses all place regulations on advertising certain products and substances. Alcohol generally can be advertised through all major mediums and on social media as long as it doesn’t violate any legal restrictions.
In contrast, some platforms, including Google, have refused to allow cannabis advertisements at all. In response, many business owners have begun to focus on organic traffic and SEO. Ultimately, your business will have to develop an advertising strategy that is effective at improving growth and profitability while still abiding by all applicable regulations.
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