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How MedMen’s consumer PR account went up in smoke

MedMen’s location in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Image via Med Men’s Facebook account)

MWWPR believed it had won the cannabis retailer’s consumer account, but things quickly changed.

LOS ANGELES: Cannabis retailer MedMen has pulled back the consumer PR account it tentatively awarded to MWWPR this summer after a review it started in March.

MedMen’s involvement with MWWPR began in late March when the company issued an RFP for a consumer PR firm. The shop that previously handled MedMen’s consumer-facing account for more than a year, Los Angeles-based Azione, declined to pitch, according to its president, Leland Drummond.

Seven firms participated in the review, including MWWPR, even though the agency’s CEO, Michael Kempner, said in a statement that his firm had reservations about the account.

“When we first received their RFP, MWWPR was initially concerned about rumors and publicly available information about MedMen,” he said. The company is the defendant in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed by former CFO James Parker. Investors had also sued, claiming executives made decisions that were not in the company’s interest, but that suit has been dropped.

Nonetheless, Kempner said MWWPR decided to pitch for the business. “After due diligence and assurances from MedMen that it was financially stable and that their rumored problems of the past had been resolved, we agreed to pursue the RFP,” he said.

MWWPR won the account on June 12. Shortly thereafter, it flew agency staffers to Los Angeles to meet MedMen executives and discuss plans for the account. However, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, MedMen canceled the relationship only two weeks after awarding it.

“Notwithstanding the time, money and effort that was expended by MWWPR (as well as the other firms that pitched), a few days after our startup meeting and program planning, we were informed that the CFO had cancelled the PR program and that they would no longer be moving forward with us or any firm,” Kempner said, confirming what happened. “In my 32 years as CEO of MWWPR, this was clearly one of the more dishonest and odd processes we have experienced.”

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Thomas Moore on PR Week

Published: August 07, 2019

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