Fast Food Companies Targeting Pot-Heads

by AdamS on July 25, 2012

A recent trend in American culture is a marketing trend to advertise directly to drug users and young adults who love to stay up late and party.  The sad part about this strategy to market to people suffering from drug dependency is that it actually works.  Several companies are cashing in on this idea, most notably fast food companies and restaurants that stay open either very late or all night.  Instead of getting help at a drug abuse treatment center such as, these drug addicts are going to Taco Bell, which has been able to market to them more effectively.

Companies Appealing to Stoners

Several companies are seeing very nice returns from their marketing campaigns that are essentially designed to appeal to young alcoholics and stoners who stay up late partying and getting wasted.  The first notable campaign that really saw a lot of success and still does was Taco Bell’s Fourth Meal campaign.  The Fourth Meal is supposed to be the meal between dinner and breakfast that happened between midnight and 4 A.M.  Other companies noted the success of Taco Bell and launched their own campaigns, such as Denny’s, General Mills, and White Castle who actually signed on to be featured in the ultimate stoner movie: “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” as well as the sequel.

The Success of Marketing to People on Drugs

Whether they are trying to appeal to college kids who stay up all night drinking or just using drugs recreationally, marketers have found a new niche to gain a bigger share over their competitors.  Just this year, Taco Bell had another huge hit under their “late night muchies” campaign, when they introduced the Dorito’s Locos Tacos. That new product helped them garner a six percent increase in sales for the first quarter of the year.  General Mills also saw a lot of success when they teamed up with drug icons Cheech and Chong to help them sell “Magic Brownies”.

Who is Really To Blame?

While it seems that a lot of the blame for encouraging the late night drug using culture rests on the marketers, it is hard to blame them for exploiting an idea that seems to work much better than traditional marketing strategies.  Perhaps it’s the stoners themselves who are perpetuating a stereotype and actually buying into the marketing gimmicks, rather than trying to better their image.  However, it is more likely the rest of the American public, who don’t seem to care at all that these companies are essentially promoting drug use.

Marketers will continue to push the envelope of what they can get away with in appealing to this new niche market.  They will likely continue to appeal to people suffering from alcohol or drug dependency until someone ends up dying and the death is linked to an ad campaign put on by Taco Bell or Denny’s.  It is really
sad that instead of promoting healthy living by getting help at a drug abuse treatment center, our culture is encouraging getting wasted and eating a ton of fast food. Go to for more info on drug dependency.

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