Ben & Jerry’s Gets “Blunt” on Social Media

Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

April 20 is a day that many people come together to enjoy cannabis. As 33 states have legalized marijuana, many lawmakers are pushing to make it legal on the federal level.

There are many legends about the origins of this day. Some say this day started because five friends in high school in the 70s smoked marijuana every day at 4:20 p.m. Others say that 420 is the police code for possession of marijuana. However, I don’t believe there is a verifiable source that discusses the truth about how this day came to be.

Either way, 4/20 is a day where weed smokers get together with their friends and well, smoke weed.

Ben & Jerry’s took this day to start a movement. They wanted to shed light on something more important than just smoking weed.

Video and Tweet via Ben & Jerry’s Twitter

Ben & Jerry’s took this opportunity to show the racial disparity of people in jail for marijuana-related charges. They used their brand on social media to show the number of black people versus the number of white people who get arrested for possession of marijuana, even though both races use the substance at very similar rates.

The results were shocking.

Between 2001 and 2010, there were more than 8 million pot arrests (88% for possession). And during that time, a Black person was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.

Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s used their brand to show this social disparity and to point out how bad it really is. They were even strategic enough to tie it into their ice cream brand. One of the social media ads on Instagram read “Legalization without justice is Half Baked.”

Photo via Ben & Jerry’s Website

They used one of their most popular ice cream flavors “Half Baked” to show the truth behind such unjust actions. And although some people may not agree with the use of marijuana in the first place, Ben & Jerry’s used this day to reveal a much bigger problem.

The company even had a call to action for the government.

We’re calling on Congress to expunge prior marijuana convictions and provide pardons/amnesty to anyone whose only crime was possession of cannabis. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle are already doing it. It’s time to take this national.

Ben & Jerry’s

Companies like Ben & Jerry’s see the importance of using their brand and their social media platforms for the right reasons. They could have easily used this day to capitalize on the many people who would want a sweet treat. Instead, they did good and may have helped in combatting this social justice issue.

To learn more about Ben & Jerry’s 4/20 advertisement, click here!

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