Half Baked – A Marketing Success Story

Half Baked was originally released in January of 1998 and it quickly became an instant comedy classic. Some readers may even quote this movie from time to time. For example, “If he ain’t back in five minutes, we calling Dominos” or “Get me an avocado, an ice pick, and my snorkel. Trust me, bro. I’ve made bongs with less.”

Half Baked is about three stoners who are forced to get off their butts and raise money to bail their friend out of jail after he accidentally killed a police horse by feeding him junk food. Naturally, they thought of one thing…they could sell marijuana. Even if you’re not a fan of Half Baked we believe there’s a marketing strategy from watching this movie that you can take away with you. Let us explain…

Entering The Market

The guys realized that there was one person controlling the marijuana market (Sampson) and could enter the market by using a cost leadership strategy (lowest cost of operation in the industry) by going through a different wholesaler (hospitals). This allowed them to lower the selling price while increasing their margins.

Promotion and Sales

The guys promoted their product using a direct selling strategy (selling to consumers away from a fixed retail location). They promoted their product by handing out samples with a business card attached (something that happens every day in business/marketing). By utilizing a call center, they are now in direct communication with the customer, allowing them to educate callers about their product. Having direct communication with the customer also gave them an opportunity to upsell (induce the customer to purchase upgrades or add-ons to make a more profitable sale). They also received vital information about the customer for future target marketing campaigns.

Logistics & Cash Flow

The guys lowered the business’s logistics and shipping costs by using bikes instead of public transportation to ship their product. They also lowered the payroll costs by paying the call center girl with free product, saving valuable cash flow.

Branding And Advertising

The guys branded their product as “Mr. Nice Guy” which has a nice tone and ring to it and sets the stage for what the company culture is and what the company stands for. Remember “Mr. Nice Guy” was named after the beloved Kenny (the character that is in jail). As the business grew, so did their clientele, which led them to Sir Smoke Alot, which gave “Mr. Nice Guy” priceless advertising and product placement in his music videos.

Exit Strategy

Of course with any business, there’s peaks and valleys of success. The guys had a perfect exit strategy in teaming up with the cops to take out their main competition and exit the industry on top. Oh, and remember the main goal of the business…to get Kenny out of jail, they achieved that as well.

Most people who have seen Half Baked will see it as a stoner comedy. We at Dot Zero Multimedia like to take another look at things and realize that there is a true marketing success story behind it all. The guys had a clear goal in mind and entered the market partnering with a low-cost wholesaler. They grew their business through direct selling, promotions, and advertising. They weren’t afraid to hit the pavement and engage with their clientele to boost sales. In the end, they achieved their goal and came out on top. Not bad for a bunch of stoners.

Thanks for reading!


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