2022 was a year that history was made in the cannabis industry across North America and the world. Refined brands led by talented and experienced teams are beginning to dominate the landscape. This year’s winners undoubtedly made their mark on consumers and the rest of the industry over the past year. Join us in celebrating the very best in cannabis marketing, branding and advertising.
Accessory Brand OTY
Canada – Canadian Lumber
Every cannabis consumer who rolls their own joints (a lost art with pre-rolls so easily available) knows that the paper makes all of the difference. Not only does it affect the quality of the smoke, but it’s a part of the rolling up ritual.
Canadian Lumber has created a full line of rolling papers for the patriotic smoker. With imagery reminiscent of the old “Canadian Lumberjack” trope & three different high-quality papers to choose from, it’s no wonder they’ve made such a splash in our Northern smoke circles.
USA – Hamilton Devices
Just as rolling papers are essential to a joint consumer, a high-quality battery is essential for those who enjoy 510 cartidges. Hamilton Devices has an extensive line-up for every toker; offering dry herb vapes, hands-free 510 options, and even a device to allow you to smoke multiple cartidges at one time.
While coming to Canada with their new deal with CannMart has made quite a lot of news, so has their recent ventures working with cannabis content creators on Twitch! 2023 is truly shaping up to be the Year of the Shark.
Best Packaging Design
Canada – Wyld
When Wyld first landed in Canada, they made quite the impact with their natural, fun flavoured gummies. However, interested in solving Canada’s single-use plastic problem, Wyld released their innovative packaging to the masses.
While their bags may look similar to the industry-standard mylar bags, Wyld’s packaging is fully compostable while still easy to use & read – earning them their ADCANN Award.
USA – Minerva
Continuing the theme of “sustainability in packaging” comes Minerva; a vegan cannabis edible with the goal of introducing the masses to micro-dosing while many seek macro-doses.
While their edibles are delicious, their packaging steals the show this year. Meticulously designed, their products come in funky reusable tins that can be used for simple storage, handmade candles, and whatever else your mind can imagine. While their edibles may be finished quickly, their tin will make itself a part of users’ every day.
Best Social Media
Canada – Cruuzy
While many brands are scared to engage online due to Health Canada regulations & Meta’s terms of service, Cruuzy demonstrates what excellence is in cannabis social media. With a clear, California-inspired brand image in mind, all of their posts work to build this image in the consumer mind.
With creative joint displays, powerful graphics, and a fun attitude, Cruuzy enchants the sizeable audience they’ve built across the digital space.
USA – Gentlemen Smugglers
While Cruuzy demonstrates what a brand can achieve by remaining loyal to its brand image, Gentlemen Smugglers demonstrates what can be achieved by remaining true to your roots.
While many may hide their legacy affiliation, Gentlemen Smugglers wears it on their sleeve; making their brand’s main focal point. The founders of Gentlemen Smugglers faced the full wrath of Nixon’s War on Drugs, but have returned to tell the story they lived through the years. With collage-style imagery, and docu-styled shorts with the founders, Gentlemen Smugglers has truly captivated their Instagram audience.
Canada – Sister Merci
Toronto’s Sister Merci agency has worked with some of the biggest names in cannabis – whether you know it or not, you’re probably familiar with their work.
This nimble, full-service creative firm has helped in launching & promoting juggernauts in the Canadian cannabis space such as Canopy, Hexo, and KIND. With a team with countless years of experience and a unique eye for design, Sister Merci shows you don’t need to be the biggest agency to make the most significant impact.
USA – PufCreativ
Denver, Colorado’s PufCreativ agency is a modern full-scale cannabis marketing agency that specializes in releasing strategic & compliant cannabis campaigns for cannabis companies.
Having created countless logos, branding, and packaging designs, PufCreativ works with groups such as The Last Prisoner Project & Fire Station to create such great work that it has earned them their second ADCANN Award in the same category.
Independent Store Brand OTY
Canada – THC Canada (British Columbia)
South Vancouver’s THC Canada has earned their award by creating a space for new & old consumers to come together for an amazing experience. With an intentional design they describe as a “futuristic spaceship”, THC has managed to create a space that gives the feel of the Apple Store while not losing their connection to cannabis culture.
With sensory orbs available to let a consumer’s nose guide them rather than cannabinoid percentages balanced with cultivar information, this store has created a space for consumers to truly connect with their products.
USA – Bud’s Goods & Provisions (Massachusetts)
Warm & inviting, home truly is where your buds are. Bud’s Goods and Provisions takes a modern approach in creating their spaces; focusing on the customer experience over all else.
This hospitality approach to a cannabis dispensary has allowed Bud’s to grow into three locations, with more on the way. If you’re in Massachusetts, you’ll have to make a stop to see your buddies at Bud’s.
Marketing Campaign OTY
Canada – Color Cannabis – Just Add Color
Color Cannabis has been a staple in many consumers’ stashes since it first hit the market. While known for their quality cannabis, their brightly coloured nitrogen-sealed mylar bags have captured every stoner’s eyes.
Leaning into this, Color launched their “Just Add Color” campaign, as they demonstrated on their social media the thought and time that went into the selection of each bag’s colour, and how each colour fits the “vibe” of the cannabis sealed away. While many brands struggle to pick a single colour, Color has created a rainbow across dispensary shelves.
USA – Cannabis Creative Movement – Pride Guide
When Pride Month hits, every year social media is full of consumers pointing out dishonest campaigns meant to use the month for more clicks & more sales. To combat this, the Cannabis Creative Movement worked to release something dispensaries and brands can utilize in the workplace to really make an impact with their LGBTQ+ workforce.
Their Pride Guide is part of their guidebook series designed to inform on the key issues while creating funding opportunities for nonprofits that actually address these issues. The Pride Guide is a simple yet comprehensive guide to help many understand the differences between sex, gender, and intersex.
Social Good Campaign OTY
Canada – Reef Organic – Be True to You
While many Pride campaigns barely last the month, Reef Organic aimed to create a campaign to do good for the queer community past the month of June. The “Be True to You” campaign ran from June 1st to the 31st of August, launching a “True Colours” variety pack of edibles where a portion of sales went to 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations around the country.
To further affirm their commitment to a culture of inclusivity, Reef has also created and shared resources such as The Power of Inclusive Language & Inclusive ID Screening for Cannabis Retail on their website for retailers to utilize.
Agency Marketer OTY
Canada – Noah Parker
Noah Parker is both a Partner & VP of Operations at The Influence Agency; an award-winning, multi-national marketing agency which excels in influencer marketing. Noah has been working with The Influence Agency for more than 6 years, being instrumental in the execution of their many influencer campaigns.
Noah is no stranger to cannabis marketing – finding compliant yet engaging ways to introduce brands to the public. With cannabis becoming legal all across North America, we’re all sure to see Noah’s work on a billboard or screen sometime soon (if you haven’t already).
Craft Brand OTY
Canada – Carmel
Carmel is proof to the industry that those coming from the legacy market have a unique opportunity to enchant consumers. With their team of cannabis experts, led by their head grower Drew, Carmel has built a portfolio of rare genetics grown to push the plants to their limits. Their iconic orange bag is not only stylish but contains all the nitty-gritty of the plant’s processes for the curious cannabis connoisseur.
With staples such as Animal Breath & Drew’s Dark Helmet, Carmel has been able to find their way into every heady smoker’s stash across the country.
USA – Pacific & Pine
Forget about Cali Exotics & B.C Bud, the pacific northwest is growing some of the best craft cannabis imaginable. Pacific & Pine utilizes organic, all-natural, and environmentally conscious practices to deliver cannabis “like nature intended”.
This craft cultivator has been growing since 2015 and has used the years to refine their processes to deliver the best bud possible. With offerings such as Ice Cream Cake & Gorilla Cookies, Pacific & Pine brings forward fresh cannabis that would make farmer’s market produce blush.
Brand Marketer OTY
Canada – Drew Campbell
Second nomination, second time winning; congrats to Drew Campbell for his work as the VP of Marketing for The Organic Green Dutchman – or TGOD, as it’s affectionately abbreviated. The Green Organic Dutchman has a collection of whole-flower, vapes, oils, and edibles. Specifically, look out for their teas and their Ripple line; of dissolvable cannabis powders. With Ripple, you can add 10 mg’s of THC (or CBD) to anything – be it a drink or food!
Having spent time with Blackberry, Rogers, Telus, CIBC and Canadian Tire before Drew joined the cannabis industry in 2018. Want to get into the mind of an award-winning brand marketer? Read Drew’s Trailblazer interview, where he goes over the new daily puzzles he needs to solve to win the day.
USA – Katie Burrell
With 5+ years of experience in the cannabis space, Katie Burrell of PufCreativ has pushed the limits of cannabis marketing. Being an expert in graphic design & video editing, Katie’s unique imagination allows her to constantly push her creativity to bring brands to life.
A proud gay, non-binary entrepreneur, Katie trailblazes her own path in the cannabis space while using her platform to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. With her two cats & one dog by her side, Katie creates campaigns that truly capture the attention of modern consumers.
LP Brand OTY
Canada – BLKMKT
Those who trust their budtender to deliver the best have all had an experience with BLKMKT; Avant’s leading brand across the nation. BLKMKT has made a name for itself for continuously delivering high-quality, rare genetics that are scrupulously cultivated, hang-dried, hand trimmed and never irradiated.
With flowers, blunts, and a double-barrel vaporizer, BLKMKT has captured the attention, and wallets, of those seeking the best cannabis available.
MSO Brand OTY
USA – Cookies
It can be hard to expand across various states with no Federal oversight paired with changing & differing regulations; despite this, Cookies has managed to create a brand that not only crosses state lines but international borders.
This cannabis-lifestyle brand has released classics such as Gary Paton, Pink Rosay, and other big-ticket celebrity collaborations. Found all across the USA, Canada, and Spain, Cookies has built a name due to the quality of cannabis and its deep ties to hip-hop culture. Regardless of where you find a Cookies store, you can expect the look & feel to remain authentic, and for your cannabis to be top-shelf.
National Store Brand OTY
Canada – Spiritleaf
While many cannabis retailers have had to shut their doors across Canada, Spiritleaf is only growing. All their stores are warm & inviting, with a clear intention that guides consumers through screens, sensory orbs, and helpful budtenders. This experience can be found in all locations, with an easy-to-use online platform for those who prefer digital.
With a competitive rewards program, a killer collection of cannabis, and some of the best budtenders in the industry, those new & old to cannabis can be comfortable heading to their local Spiritleaf.
Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by ADCANN