The burgeoning cannabis industry has had a fraught relationship with premium inventory across a bevy of publishers, as media companies often blacklist cannabis-related ads.
The agency—which recently secured exclusive partnerships with several major publishers, including Hearst and USA Today—bills itself as the first agency to programmatically link advertisers to premium inventory across these sites, giving cannabis companies like Curaleaf and Next1Labs access to premium inventory that was entirely shut off to them before, as well as the ability to leverage the targeting data inherent to each of these publishing partners.
Right now, the advertisers that Toasted Collective works with can be broken down into three categories: local dispensaries, traditional cannabis CPG brands, and “multi-state operators,” or “MSOs”—large, publicly traded companies that are licensed to cultivate and sell cannabis across multiple states.
Brands that choose to work with the agency pay upwards of $10,000 to $15,000 per month.
Hearst and USA Today both declined to comment on their partnership.
“A lot of the times, transactions at dispensaries are still occurring on a cash basis—Visa, Mastercard, they won’t accept this kind of business,” Hemingway said.