- Jack in the Box, Wingstop, TGI Fridays and Another Wing are among the restaurant brands running promotions tied to 4/20, a holiday celebrating weed culture.
- Jack in the Box for the month of April is selling a Pineapple Express Shake, per details shared in an email with Marketing Dive. On April 20, the item — along with every other shake on the menu — will be sold for $4.20 and in ounces versus regular sizes on third-party apps. The brand has pledged to plant a tree for every pineapple shake ordered and worked with agency Maximum Effort on ads expressing how much "Jack Loves Trees," a euphemism for marijuana.
- Wingstop is getting in the spirit with a 4/20-inspired flavor called Blazed & Glazed that's available starting today (April 18) and features hemp seeds. TGI Fridays has a similarly named Blazed & Glazed Bundle available through Uber Eats delivery, while DJ Khaled's Another Wing is promoting a plant-based wing dish through a dispensary pop-up in partnership with The Flowery, a Miami-based cannabis store. The campaigns show brands are getting more comfortable marketing around the holiday as marijuana sees greater widespread legalization and decriminalization in the U.S.
Whatever hesitancy brands once had in associating their products with weed appears to be cooling given the rush of 4/20-related promotions this year. The restaurant category is particularly eager to capitalize on the holiday, with a lot of PR copy pledging to help consumers get rid of the "munchies" and making nods to stoner-comedy classics and actual strains of marijuana.
The looser approach could be inspired by the number of markets that have moved to legalize weed in recent years, such as New York. But the delivery boom under the pandemic is also clearly a factor behind these campaigns. Brands may feel there's less risk in meeting weed enthusiasts in their own homes versus encouraging a stoned dine-in experience at restaurants that also draw families.
TGI Friday's Blazed and Glazed bundle, which features new chicken-finger sliders and loaded fries, is an Uber Eats exclusive. Jack in the Box is adjusting its usual shake sizing on delivery apps to be listed in ounces, a wink at how weed is often measured. Meanwhile, Wingstop is pushing its take on the Blazed & Glazed concept through its own website and app, which have been important drivers for growth amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Beyond the tie-ins to mobile ordering and delivery, restaurant marketers are also testing out experiences related to 4/20 as live events bounce back. Another Wing, a virtual restaurant brand from DJ Khaled and the Reef kitchen tech platform that debuted last year, is working with an actual Miami-based dispensary on a pop-up tied to its new plant-based meal, which was developed with LikeMeat. Wingstop is installing a food truck hawking its Blazed & Glazed wings at the 420 Hippie Hill festival in San Francisco this year. The gathering is billed as the largest free cannabis event in the Bay Area.