Brief summary of the episode: Today I am joined by my friend Steve who is a pioneer in the Cannabis Industry and a lifelong Cannabis Activist. Today we are discussing the beginnings of marketing, Cannabis Marketing, Music marketing with BTS, and Wu-Tang Clan, and Influencer marketing with Kim Kardashian and her influencer family.

[Episode transcript]

[00:00:00] Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. And they were talking about this and they were trying to explain to me what it was. And I knew what K-Pop was, but I was like, they just performed here? And she’s like, how can you not know they performed here? , so explain to me do all of you, I know that I’m assuming that you two speak Korean, but do the rest of you speak Korean and they actually were learning, they knew l a lot of the songs, so they actually conformed to the culture to learn this. conformed to the culture to learn this.

Ed Higgins, Purple Noodle Marketing. Today I’m joined by my friend Steve, who is a pioneer in the cannabis industry and a lifelong cannabis activist. Today we are discussing the beginnings of marketing, cannabis marketing, how you doing, Steve?

Awesome. What’s up ? I’m alright. Doing right. It’s a Monday. It’s the best you can do on a Monday. Yep. Just be alive. The first topic I wanted to talk about, for those of you who don’t know, I wrote a book. It’s called Purple Noodle Marketing, Helping Cannabis Businesses Grow, Organically. I sent it to [00:01:00] Steve. Steve’s, a good friend. He’s in the acknowledgments, at the end of the book.

The reason why I brought up the book is the first season of our. Podcast, we’re gonna be discussing the book and the chapters in the book, and then we’ll be discussing more entertaining topics in the cannabis industry, inviting on guests. That’s our intention, that’s our plan.

 We’re going through the chapters, discussing different things in the chapters in order to talk about cannabis marketing, we have to talk about the history and the details of cannabis marketing and then get to the good stuff.

Does that make sense to you? Makes sense to me. Right on. Makes sense to me too. Appreciate that. Let’s talk about some people in the marketing space within the last 40 years that have made Amazing headway in marketing. And the three that I wrote about in the book are BTS one of the biggest K-pop bands outta South Korea in the world.

Wu-Tang Clan, one of the originators of street teams and borrowing [00:02:00] audiences, which we’ll talk about later. And Kim Kardashian, probably the world’s first influencer, family for lack of a better word. And there may have been other ones before this, but this is the most talked about one that I know of still being talked about today, unfortunately, for different reasons.

They branch out to different platforms, different shows, , I think all of the family has some kind of brand or some kind of influencer schtick going on, for lack of a better word. All right. BTS, korean K-pop bands. K-pop is huge. A lot of these bands are put together for marketing purposes, but they do still produce amazing content K-Pop makes their own songs and then they also try to make songs in different languages like English, they don’t quite know what they’re saying but they still able to pull it off and video form and their fan base is rabid.

It’s amazing how much their fan base loves BTS. Do you know anything about BTS, Steve ? Yeah, I know a little bit about them. Obviously, I know who [00:03:00] they are. I used to drive Lyft in la Okay. And one time some girls got in the back of my vehicle, they were just coming from a BTS concert.

This is a few years ago, they were already blowing up and, there was girls. They were going absolutely crazy.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. And they were talking about this, and they were trying to explain to me what it was. And I knew what K-Pop was, but I was like, they just performed here? And she’s like, how can you not know they performed here? , so explain to me, do all of you, I know that I’m assuming that you two speak Korean, but do the rest of you speak Korean and they actually were learning, they, knew l a lot of the songs, so they actually conformed to the culture to learn this. But they said not all the songs in Korean, blah, blah, blah. And it just amazed me if the crossover had already started. Now, of course, it’s completely different now. It’s really blowing up.

There’s a lot of crossover with it. There was one female K-pop band, they played in Coachella a couple of times so far, [00:04:00] and so in California, they’re very big. They blow up. They’ve blown up. In LA, they’re well known.

They do concerts there. Like I says, these are three girls, and I don’t wanna say from different cultures, because they’re all three from the same culture. They’re from, That LA culture and for them, it wasn’t about race. It wasn’t about like we’re not Koreans.

They are there K-Pop fans, and I’m sure there’s a term for it. And that’s all that they saw themselves as but as we know, boy bands have been around for a while and they’ve K-pop. In my opinion, K-Pop really looked at the model of boy bands, which go back to then the nineties and they modeled that let’s make this our own. And they made a very specific point of making that their own. Cause k-pop is only Korean. There’s been some bands that try to cross over and they basically say, Hey, you’re appropriating our culture. That’s one thing about K-pop, it’s, and the thing is they want other cultures [00:05:00] in it.

They don’t have cultures performing it. And it was almost like that a little bit with hip hop, like when Eminem came in, people were like, Hey, you’re not part of this culture. But he was, in a way, it’s if you, if. If hip hop is black and white, or rap music is black and white, then of course I can see that.

But it’s music, and it’s really about who performs at a higher level. You go back and look at Vanilla Ice. Now Vanilla Ice was like cookie boxed. And he was, they were trying to get an imprint in this, I don’t wanna say that he was fake or something like that, but you can’t compare vanilla ice to m and m

He was only fake in the respect that for some reason, whether it was him or whether it was the marketing team decided that the world wasn’t ready for Kentucky rapper. So they made him from some other streets somewhere, and then somebody found out and it was ridiculous. So they, he obviously could rap, but yeah, his, the marketing that they chose for him was, he was some street guy from somewhere [00:06:00] else, which wasn’t true.

I wouldn’t even put him in the same category as m and m at all. Eminem is a destroyer. Like no rapper wants to dis Eminem. And when they, when you diss one another, it’s not meant as a personal insult, it’s meant as a form of communication.

I’m gonna say something about you. You better say something back about me. And then those two blow up together. And that’s how it is. But no one wants to go against Em. No one wants to go against no. Cause he destroys. Everyone. So that’s why everyone gives him the respect is because of his lyrics.

Hip-hop originally was meant to tell stories. You had stories to tell and in the old methods of not writing everything down, of speaking everything orally and telling your oral stories. It was oral storytelling and brought you into a lifestyle that maybe you weren’t accustomed to, weren’t aware of. And that’s what made it grow. But you’re some of the newer hip hop, and it’s starting to go back to lyrics again.

Some of the newer hip-hop was put together. It was manufactured to make money, more than telling a story. And now it’s going back to lyrics, [00:07:00] thankfully. So back to bts. Yeah, there’s a lot more involved in it. It’s the boy band model basically and they still do hip hop they still do edm, but really it’s based upon that boy band model. And they just took it to a whole different level. They found something that, that. And they stuck to it. And first they blew up in the Korean market and I’m sure they blew up in the Chinese market, and then they brought it over to, we all know the main market is the American market.

The European market is their course, but there’s no, once you’ve made it in the American market, you’ve considered that you’ve made it. And that’s really what they, and they, I don’t think that they plan to jump there immediately. They did it nice and slowly moving there until now they’re ingrained in the American culture and , it’ll get deeper and stronger.

But the one thing about K-Pop is that K-Pop is Korean artists, and that’s they’re gonna guard that. I think there’s one or two bands maybe that are not necessarily Korean. And I could be even wrong on that, but I saw [00:08:00] especially about one band, and I’ve heard some saw from one band. I think that’s not and again that’s an anomaly.

That’s not the main that’s my take on BTS. Yeah, and I’ve saw them I’ve seen them in LA before. I saw them once, they were recording something over near CBS Studios. They were walking in the street , from what I understand about their band and my sister-in-law actually is a much bigger fan than I’ll ever be of bts.

I’m not a fan by any means, but I don’t mind their music. But she’s a big fan and one of the things that that I learned is that they were put together, that they were kinda like, you’re NSYNC. Kinda like your Beatles. They were, oh, these people are doing things. Let’s bring everybody together.

We’ll make some money together, make some great songs. And they have, they’ve done really well in that respect. Another thing that was just mentioned recently is That they’re all going into conscription together. Those of you don’t know that it’s, some countries have a mandatory year of military service, they are doing that right now for their country, and they’re all going in together, so they all come out together, which is pretty admirable.

Speaking of hip hop though Wutang clan, [00:09:00] so I don’t know how familiar you are with Wutang clan. Most people in the United States have heard of Wutang in some respect or another, and that’s mainly due to their brilliance of marketing. Every five years or so, they end up in some kind of medium that people are like, oh yeah, we love Wutang.

Recently we have the American Saga. American Saga. The Wutang story has come out on Hulu, I believe, and it’s amazing to look back to that area of hip hop because . Before that was it takes two to make a thing go, right? It was happier hip hop. It was dance hip hop, and then it started to get gritty.

And Wutang Clan is one of the people that brought that grittiness to the people all around the world. And how I heard . Wutang was, a friend of mine brought a tape from New York to Massachusetts and it was a bootleg of the Wutang 36 chambers hadn’t even been released yet out to the mainstream.

At the time it was groundbreaking. We were like, what is this? This is amazing. [00:10:00] We, played that tape out. It may have gotten borrowed or stolen but since then, I bought that album maybe 15 times in my lifetime through CDs that get scratched or get stolen or broken to streams on different platforms to now I have it on Apple Music and.

It is truly groundbreaking. What I didn’t know at the time was one of the methods that they were utilizing is before this, they were selling product on the streets and they decided to take the negative and turn into positive, like Biggie says. So they went ahead and they used their money.

Instead of buying product or drugs, they bought studio time and speakers and mixers and they put together a great album. And released it. And then they took their street selling skills, their marketing skills, right? Cause that street sales is marketing. They took their marketing skills and they were able to give these tapes to all types of people and send them to different places and say, Hey go ahead and give this tape out.

Go ahead and play it wherever. That’s how they created a buzz that [00:11:00] the industry wasn’t ready for. Especially since they were able to make their own contract where they were what’s called, we call the marketing business borrowing audiences. You’ll see this with different brands. They will, maybe it’s a car brand that will also make a vodka or , like Marvel.

Marvel was amazing at this. Disney took the product and did the same thing with the borrowing audiences, except for they started with Netflix. They started with different streaming apps, and then eventually brought it all home into their own Streaming App.

But they were able to borrow all those audiences, and whether they did on purpose or not, I’ll, I won’t know until we read about something about it, but it was brilliant in the fact that you had people that were on Netflix, you had people that were on these other different streaming services that when Disney Plus came, they’re like, oh, hey, I might watch that.

And Marvel’s releasing some of this stuff. And then they brought in all the other shows into the Disney Plus app different people watching Marvel and now they’re watching it from all the different apps.

So they’re the, let’s see, Daredevil, the Marvel [00:12:00] Knights Universe in the comic books they called Marvel Knights. In the show it was Punisher, it was Luke Cage, it was a whole bunch of other characters. They’re all now in the Disney Plus app and that basically brought more audiences into their app because they had already seen these products out in different platforms.

It’s a tactic we utilize in the marketing industry. That’s one of the things that, the Wu-tang clan, they actually created the street team. There wasn’t a street team out there. Before that they created the street team. The street team would go out and give people free albums, free CDs, free flyers, whatever.

That’s how I originally heard of Dilated Peoples. For those of you in hip hop land who understand Dilated Peoples, that’s how I actually heard about dilated Peoples. So I was outside . The Marquee theater in Vegas and the street team came up and gave me their their flyer for their first album. I was like, oh, wow.

I gotta check this out. And that was history. That was 20 years ago. The origins of hip-hop, we go back to this the roots go back to the seventies with like rappers delight. , Rappers Delight was the first album, but there was a lot of underground [00:13:00] hiphop already out there.

And then the eighties was really like the golden Age. Of hip-hop. . And then after that came across the Silver Age and then the nineties that’s Tang and that stuff. , and then came the Bronze Age, I guess you could say. Was it early two thousands. And as is arcing it all like you were saying before, it all arcs into one thing becoming very commercialized.

Yeah. That’s, and that’s where everything arts into is becoming overly commercialized, which is where we are now. Before there was. Grassroot artists, there was grassroot, producers, they were using guerrilla marketing techniques to to get their music out there.

I think even on the east, on the west coast that has just dropped his name. Who was the guy with the pants? Mc Hammer. So Mc Hammer talks about like when he was really he was from out of Oakland or someplace like that, but he used to, he got a offer for a record deal and he is okay, so how much am I gonna get per disc?

And they said this much. He goes, if I can hand him out by hand. And make this much right here. Why am I gonna go with [00:14:00] you and sell a million when I could sell a hundred thousand by hand and make twice what you’re offering me? And this is an also an age street teams used to go out by hand and they would make mix tapes.

They handle us out by hand to people. . That’s the method that Wutang used. And I don’t know if I don’t, maybe they started, but I’m pretty sure that was everywhere. I know in California it was a big deal and it still exists. You can go down to you can go down to the Highland Center Hollywood and Highland, and there’s guys on the corner to this day handing out this to tourists.

Still. So that’s, and that’s something that ex, that’s really helped to explode things, explode the market. , that’s the arc. And Wutang was a very big part of that. They were in that silver age when people knew what hip hop was and they couldn’t get enough of it, and they wanted more, and then they brought them something completely unique and they’re like, whoa.

And there’s hardcore wutang clan and you can’t look at somebody and tell if they’re into the Wu Tang Clan or not. You have no idea. Oh yeah. Cause their influence is over is. Everybody that’s just in the us they’re all over the world. Yep. I [00:15:00] walked into a bar and And I was in a suit and jeans and dress shoes, and it was Wutang night.

Apparently the guys started playing wutang and I was out there dropping lyrics and everybody’s jaws dropped. They’re like, who the this guy? ? Yeah. My love Wutang goes very strong and I was able to recently reach out. And on the marketing tactic is cameo. It’s an app that allows you to send messages or request videos from your favorite artists. And RZA happened to be on there and I let ’em know that basically changed my life. At that time I wasn’t really focused on anything but.

I was able to focus on Wutang, and Wutang taught me a lot of lessons that I didn’t understand were a lot of lessons from Islam, but there were also street lessons mixed in with. Lessons about warfare and lessons about martial arts. And that’s a great tactic too.

You’re getting your message out. A lot of marketing, and we’re gonna discuss this marketing came from propaganda. Propaganda is, when you want to get your ideas growing you say something through different channels and enough [00:16:00] people hear it, that they start to believe it. And the marketing.

 He’s the one who put it all together. He’s the one who said let’s go ahead and put this all together. And still to this day, my love of hiphop, I was able to reach out to RZA. I met Capadonna we were able to chop it up for a little bit. There are different ways, different times in my life where the marketing of wutang has reached me or I’ve been able to thrive as a person from listening to the music or, teaching the lessons.

One of the best ways you can do any kind of revolutionary messaging is through some kind of media and they were able to do it through hiphop and a lot of bands were able to do it through hiphop.

This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle Marketing, helping cannabis businesses grow organically. We are cannabis marketing firm specializing in cannabis, seo, cannabis, e-commerce, and cannabis marketing. You can check out our new book on Amazon, type in Purple Noodle Marketing, and it should come right up.

Our website is purple noodle marketing.com. If you have any questions or, or anything, you can email us at [00:17:00] info at. purplenoodlemarketing.com And we are gonna put in the list of the show notes, we’re gonna put a link to a couple different items that maybe we talked about today. Towel of the woo, you wanna understand about the Wutang clan.

Go ahead and check out their beginnings in that book. Written by Rza. He’s the the producer the the Voltron of WTA Clan and then Jesse Ventura’s Manifesta marijuana Manifesto. How lies corruption and propaganda kept cannabis illegal by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.

Hopefully this podcast is different quality than the last podcast. Last podcast there was some learning lessons. Steve has helped me get through and producing this podcast because he’s been doing it so much more effectively in the past couple years, so he knows what he’s doing and I appreciate that about him.

No excuses. Talk to you guys next time. Right on. Have a good night y’all. And we’ll see you next time.

Episode sponsored by: This episode is sponsored by Purple Noodle Marketing, Helping Cannabis Businesses Grow Organically. We are a Cannabis Marketing firm specializing in Cannabis SEO, Cannabis Ecommerce, and Cannabis Marketing. Check out our new book: https://www.amazon.com/Purple-Noodle-Marketing-Organically-Entrepenuers/dp/B09ZCVYW7H

Our Website is; https://www.purplenoodlemarketing.com

List of resources, suggested materials, and social media handles:

Resource link #1: Tao of the Wu written by The RZA, the founder of the WuTang Clan – https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-tao-of-wu_the-rza/320009/item/7868076/#edition=5722840&idiq=7868076

Our Substack is at https://cannabismarketing.substack.com/

Our Youtube is at: https://www.youtube.com/@purplenoodlemarketing