Being creative is hard when you’re haunted by a myriad of proposed rules and possible constraints, so how do people overcome the impossible when it comes to branding the un-brandable? We rounded up our favourite campaigns that are totally outside-of-the-box while hitting the creative nail right on the head.
MedMen: Forget Stoner Campaign
What It’s About: This ad campaign showcases regular people like police officers, and grandmothers who all use cannabis for reasons such as pain management. California’s regulations on placement are similar to Canada’s proposed ones, allowing ads in markets “with at least 71.6% reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.” Still, MedMen had to be creative and ensured the ads only depicted people and lifestyle, instead of their product or how it’s used.
Why We Love It: It shuts down harsh stereotypes about antisocial and lazy stoners and promotes the real cannabis community – an inclusive network of people from all different walks of life and professions.
Patio Interactive – 360 VR Tours of Facilities, Packaging & Product
What It’s About: Using 360 video, VR, and AR companies like Patio Interactive showcase cannabis farms, their tech and their production process (the next best thing to a good old-fashioned brewery or wine tour). This creative has limitless possibilities and can even act as an attraction for marketing and entertainment events or trade shows. On the consumer side, augmented reality sidesteps the plain packaging proposition creating a unique product experience that shows off brand elements digitally.
We chatted with Charles Bern (Co-founder of Patio Interactive) to find out what he thinks of the possibilities: “Brands can’t talk about any lifestyle-related benefits of their products but they can focus on other areas of differentiation. The market potential is in normalizing the product in the eyes of the masses. Winning brands can reduce the stigma by showing real aspects of their business, the technology they use and their processes to ensure quality”. Sounds pretty good to us.
Why We Love It: We love that this has virtually no boundaries. Creating content and incorporating animation and motion graphics for AR/VR means we can take promotion, packaging and brand differentiation to the next level, while controlling exposure to only those of legal age.
The Green Solution: Adopt-A-Highway
What It’s About: Sometimes you have to beat them at their own game, and that’s what’s happening in Colorado, a state with roughly 160 Adopt-a-Highway signs – half (80) of which have been sponsored by cannabis companies. The best part of this tactic? The cannabis co’s are significantly supporting the environment, “It’s actually helping us quite a bit with all the trash debris we have around the metro area” says department spokesperson Al Martinez.
Why We Love It: This is truly thinking outside-of-the-box, plus it’s doing good for the environment and community. We love the fact that a brand can create a positive impact, improve the perspective of their mission and get their name out there all in one simple sign on the side of a road.
AltaVie & MedReleaf: Safe Offerings to The Non-User
What It’s About: These brands have introduced both edibles and beer that are cannabis inspired, but do not contain the intoxicating effects of the plant. While AltaVie plans on introducing edibles, it is already selling, “marijuana-flavoured (but drug free) chocolate-coated toffee called Cannabis Crunch in a bid to acquaint consumers with their offerings before regulations involving edibles, expected in 2019.” It’s a new age of trying before you buy the real thing. On the other hand, MedReleaf has already released a“cannabis-inspired (and marijuana-free) beer under its first recreational brand, San Rafael ‘71.” Go on to your local beer store, you can try it now.
Why We Love It: Both are inspiring to the cannabis enthusiast and enticing to the non-user. Currently on the market due to their marijuana-free ingredients, they are exempt from the major restrictions we are seeing in proposed legislation. Added bonus: consumers can try the product and choose which flavours they like before purchasing the real thing in 2019.
Tokyo Smoke: Going Back To The Basics
What It Is: A great example of brands going back to the basics is Toronto based, coffee and shopping company and soon-to-be location for Tokyo Smoke cannabis products. Located in the hipster neighbourhood of Queen Street West, they’ve situated themselves right in the mecca of their Toronto market. “They have planted their flag in key metropolitan areas, and specific neighbourhoods to appeal to a certain kind of customer segment.” – Vice. Their focus: to build a relationship with their customers and increase loyalty to their brand by offering high-quality, unwavering product to the people that support them.
Why We Love It: This traditional approach is great for small to medium-sized business and even large (hell why not?). We love the fact that this approach keeps quality control and customer service at an all-time high, plus it works with any and all creative content the business dishes out to gain new customers and promote their brand.
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