Cannabis dealers who stuck hundreds of unauthorised adverts on London's Tube trains say they are now swamped with orders and have more guerrilla marketing tactics up their sleeve.
Dispenseroo, a cannabis selling start-up which mimics the branding of online food delivery giant Deliveroo, said over the last three weeks it had put up 2,500 adverts on London Underground trains. The posters, which were clipped or glued into advert panels by 10 workers employed via job site Gumtree, said: “Do you love 🍃? Use code ‘tube’ for £5 off,” alongside the Dispenseroo hashtag.
Transport for London confirmed the posters were unauthorised and said it was removing any found on the network. Many people presumed the guerrilla advertising campaign was a spoof, scam or art project.
But it appears from those that searched up the Dispenseroo website and bought and sampled the products, that bags of cannabis, weed edibles and vapes are bona fide, despite the drug being illegal to possess, promote, sell or grow in the UK.
Speaking exclusively to VICE World News under the pseudonym “S” in order to protect his identity, Dispenseroo's founder, who describes himself as a weed-smoking Londoner in his 20s with a background in advertising and logistics start-ups, said “the response from the public has been great”.
He said on Wednesday alone the company, which made its first sale four months ago, dispatched 264 orders, and is now “turning around £50,000 a week” in sales. Orders were boosted not only by commuters seeing the adverts, but after the company contacted Instagram influencers and street news profiles such as @richkidslondon and @itsallleaked to publicise the posters online.
Asked why he set up the company, “S” told VICE World News: “I love weed. I’ve been buying it since I was 17, but if you want good quality weed it’s really hard to get it if you are a normal guy, and it’s hard to get in the UK even if you have a medical prescription.
“There are dealers who spray it with all sorts of shit and who sell ‘Cali’ packs which contain UK weed. Being young and always trying to get the best weed, I was always getting bumped. Now I have the ability to get great weed, I wanted to share it with people.”
Although VICE World News was not able to verify this, “S” claims Dispenseroo’s weed and cannabis products are ethically sourced and tested.
“Our weed is not Spiced-up [containing synthetic cannabinoids]. It’s grown free from pesticides and artificial chemicals. There’s no child labour, no bandos [drug dens], no trap houses, it’s far away from that. It comes from reputable people. We work direct with growers across the UK and in California. All the weed and products are tested and our vapes come with lab reports on the boxes, so you can scan them and see what’s in the cartridge you are vaping.”
The business, which has a 92 percent 5 star rating from 82 reviews on TrustPilot, said to stay one step ahead of the law it has set up its servers and website outside the UK “in a territory where cannabis is legal”. “S” said the company had so far not been contacted by the police.
When asked why he chose to start Dispenseroo in a country where cannabis is banned, “S” said: “Because why is weed illegal in the UK? It can be regulated. We provide an online platform where any customer can get safe products. If it was regulated properly I could use apps to scan customers’ ID and verify their age.” He said under regulation street dealers would be reduced and it would be easier and safer for women to buy weed than face to face.
“S” is keen for his business to grow. He said the aim was to increase sales to £500,000 a week by the end of the year and expand to other countries such as the Netherlands and Spain. He revealed he has more guerrilla marketing tactics planned for the UK, including a vending machine and digital billboards. “The Tube ads were just the beginning of our public stunts,” he said.