This year, we decided to run a social experiment with the ultimate goal of shedding some light on the impact that cannabis legalization may have on one of the most coveted entertainment events of the year – the Super Bowl. We polled one thousand Canadians to see how they plan to watch the game now that cannabis is legal, and discovered some interesting insights.
The idea stemmed from consistent research on the impact that cannabis legalization has had (and will continue to have) on the digital marketing and advertising landscape, and vice versa; eventually, we decided that we would just go right to the source.
“We asked how Canadians will be watching the big game with the onset of cannabis legalization,” says Robert Burko, our CEO. “Known as a social event for sports fans big and small, spanning many generations, we wanted to see if the landscape is changing for the most watched ads of the year, and it is.”
The poll was issued online with one thousand respondents ages 25-54 years old, with an almost even split between women (51.5 %) and men (48.5%). The majority of respondents were from Ontario (43.8%), Quebec (17.3%), and BC (13.9%). Here’s what we discovered.
Alcohol vs. Cannabis During the Big Game
Over 61% of Canadians plan to drink alcohol while watching the big game, but only 16% plan to use cannabis and 20% said they may try it for the first time now that it’s legal. Prior to Cannabis legalization, this 20% market
Cannabis Usage by Province
The Provinces most likely to use cannabis while watching the Super Bowl are Nova Scotia (45%) and BC (24%), with only 14% of Ontario residents confirming that they will consume cannabis during the big game. The residents least likely to consume cannabis during the game are from Manitoba (0%) & PEI (0%) – where the vast majority of respondents said that they didn’t consume cannabis before and don’t plan to now that it’s legal.
High Men vs. High Women & Ads
Almost 20% of men plan to watch the Super Bowl under the influence of cannabis, while only 12% of women plan to follow suit. Interestingly enough, women between the ages of 25-34 years old who plan to use cannabis think that both the ads and the halftime show will be funnier while under the influence. However, over 45% of Canadians do not think that cannabis use will have any impact on the Super Bowl ad experience whatsoever.
Vaping or Smoking vs. Edibles
Of the respondents who plan to use cannabis, 76% of them prefer vaping and smoking over edibles, which are not yet legal. As a courtesy to others, almost 50% of all Canadians said that
Cable vs. Online Streaming
Overall, the majority of Canadians (76%) plan to watch the Super Bowl on cable TV, vs. online, (around 20%), with the online streaming skewing towards the younger age group (25-34 years old). Despite watching the Big Game on cable, most Canadians agree that social media will have a greater impact than regular ads or promotions to market the Big Game (40.7%).
Cannabis Ads or Promotions
Overall expectations are low to see cannabis brands promoted during the Super Bowl due to ongoing marketing and advertising restrictions. Canadians were asked if they expect to see cannabis brands promoted leading up to and during the Super Bowl; here are their responses:
20.5% Yes, it makes sense for cannabis brands to run promotions leading up to this big social event
26.9% Not sure, it’s a good time to promote but with the regulations brands may not be able to say much
28.7% Not likely, there are too many restrictions around cannabis and advertising
23.9% Not likely, cannabis isn’t really a fit with Super Bowl fans
Overall Canadians are turning to online streaming and social media to watch the Super Bowl, but it’s clear that most Canadians still prefer cable to watch the big game. Further, most respondents believe that social media has more of an impact than cable for advertising and promotions. In terms of consumption preferences, now that cannabis is legal, some Canadians are planning to use it (or try it) this Super Bowl, but it’s still not the preferred choice over alcohol.
It would be interesting to run this poll again next year when cannabis and cannabis use will likely be more advertised and normalized than it is now – only a few months after legalization. Do you have high expectations that this will happen?
Tune in next year to find out.