Gary Vaynerchuk Talks Super Bowl Ads, Marijuana Marketing and VR at SXSW

VaynerMedia CEO offers advice for young entrepreneurs

Vaynerchuk took questions about the ad industry, entrepreneurialism and technology’s “next big thing.”
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As he typically does, Gary Vaynerchuk had some colorful words for the crowd at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, on Friday. Vaynerchuk, CEO of digital agency VaynerMedia and founder of online retailer Wine Library and Wine Library TV, has built quite a following within the entrepreneurial community. In a packed room at SXSW, Vaynerchuk fielded questions from attendees about the ad industry, entrepreneurialism and what technology’s “next big thing” might be. Here are a few key takeaways from his session.

On advertising value

“A Super Bowl ad is the best deal out there—90 million viewers at $6 million a pop, and it’s worth $20 million, $30 million, $40 million. Meanwhile, I think programmatic is the worst shit on earth.”

On the nascent legal marijuana marketing industry and how it compares to the early days of wine marketing

“It’s very similar in that it’s regulated state by state. Eighty years ago, it was super cavalier to drink in this country, and 20 years ago, it was super cavalier to smoke weed. A lot of alcohol startups failed, and there’s this gold rush in pot right now. Like VR, cannabis, on a consumer level, on a big scale, is going to [happen] slower than people think. The market is going to be very competitive.”

On marketing priorities

“There’s so much shifting between now and six years from now and a lack of focus. A lot of people are worried about VR when they haven’t figured out how to do a proper Facebook ad spend.”

On entrepreneurialism

“We have lost people who came to this conference five, 10 years ago to suicide because of the pressure for success in our space. … There are so many 26-year-olds who started a startup with their grandfather’s money. There are a lot of schools and companies where your name can protect you, but when you launch a product, the market doesn’t give a fuck.”

On the next disruptive thing in technology

“I’m not Nostradamus. So many people are trying to figure out what the next Snapchat is, but it’s not about me knowing. It’s about looking at behavior and playing with things.”