This past Saturday marked the official two year anniversary of federal recreational cannabis legalization in Canada. October 17th, or 10/17, has become a new pseudo-holiday for Canuck cannabis enthusiasts. Additionally, brands operating in the regulated space have started creating marketing and promotional campaigns centered around this weed-friendly anniversary. These marketing communications bear similarities to existing campaigns for 4/20 (April 20th) and 7/10 (July 10th), which are also important dates in the community. Let’s take a look at how brands connected with consumers on legalization day this year.
Parties and In-Person Activations
In past years (2018 and 2019), many Licensed Producer brands, retailers, and media companies hosted massive parties to celebrate legalization. Most notably in 2018, Leafly hosted a large gathering in Toronto where they performed a “nug drop” (a huge bud sculpture floated down from the ceiling to the floor) as the clock struck 12 on legalization day. In the same year, 7ACRES (the flagship recreational brand from The Supreme Cannabis Company) hosted an epic “Respect The Culture” party at their head office in the west end of Toronto. In 2019, companies like PureSun Farms and Superette created events to bring the Canadian cannabis community together.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, this year’s celebrations were much different. There were no in-person get-togethers or fun parties. Instead, much of the celebrating was done online through virtual marketing campaigns. The two main methods of communication that brands used this year were email marketing and social media.
Digital Marketing Campaigns
7ACRES – #ProudToBeAllowed
7ACRES has continued their #ProudToBeAllowed campaign from last year, now adding “3 Years Strong” as a tagline. 7ACRES was one of the first to launch when recreational cannabis was legalized in October 2018 and they are proud to be entering the third year of legalization as a brand. The sentiment behind Proud To Be Allowed, and much of 7ACRES’ other marketing communications, is a deep understanding and respect for the history of cannabis and the OG pioneers of the game. They are proud and grateful for the chance to operate as a legal cannabis company – a message that resonates with enthusiasts and heavy consumers that have historically bought from the unregulated market.
This campaign included an email newsletter, a long-form article, and several social media posts (including photos and videos) posted across a variety of channels.
RIFF – #JointEffort
RIFF, one of Aphria’s recreational brands, launched a very simple, bare-bones campaign titled “#JointEffort”. Within these communications, RIFF/Aphria acknowledges and thanks their customers for helping to shape their brand and product assortment. They also take a quick review of all of the products that they launched in the last year including Hawaii Heartbreak flower, THC spray, and a variety of pre-rolled joints and 510 vaporizer carts.
Wink – Legally High Playlist
Wink Cannabis, created by TREC Brands, launched a unique way for their followers to enjoy and celebrate 10/17. They made a Spotify playlist titled “Legally High” with an assortment of funky 420-friendly songs. Since celebrations can’t occur in person, this playlist offers a chance for Wink fans to “celebrate” together, separately, while listening to the same music. This is a simple yet effective strategy to make Wink’s followers feel unified as part of a community.
Giveaways are an effective way for brands to grow their social media following while also giving back to their supporters. Top Leaf (recreational brand offered by Sundial Cannabis) ran a social media contest on 10.17 which required entrants to tag a friend and share their post for a chance to win some branded merchandise.
Retailer chain, Fire & Flower, teamed up with Broken Coast to launch a similar campaign, encouraging followers to “tag two buds to enter” to win some “canna-swag”. These giveaways are typically posted on Instagram, which allows companies to easily track entrants and choose a winner. This is an effective method to stay top-of-mind among cannabis consumers on an important day.
Happy Canniversary/Legalization Day
A variety of cannabis brands (including Good Supply, Haven St and Solei) sent out email newsletters wishing their supporters a happy Canniversary/legalization day. The majority of cannabis brands in Canada acknowledged 10/17 in some capacity through social media or email marketing.
The Future of 10/17
It will be interesting to observe how Canadian cannabis legalization day evolves as time goes on. October 17th may turn into an event and celebration with mainstream attention and acceptance in Canada, similar to April 20th. Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out, we may see the resurgence of in-person events by this time next year. 10/17 serves as a great reminder of how the industry got to where it is today and all of the opportunities still left to pursue.
Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by ADCANN