2020 was an interesting year for cannabis marketing in the United States. With COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions in place in most states, many of the traditional cannabis marketing initiatives were postponed or canceled. Events and in-person retail activations were no longer permitted and shelter-in-place orders resulted in fewer impressions from out-of-home advertising. A few brands still found creative ways to continue connecting with consumers amidst all of this uncertainty. Let’s take a look at the American cannabis marketing campaign finalists as voted by you, the ADCANN community.
Cannabis Certification Council – #WhatsInMyWeed
The Cannabis Certification Council is a nonprofit standard holding body focused on providing consumer and industry education, transparency, and choice in the cannabis industry. Through their awareness campaigns and the Cannabis Sustainability Symposium, the Council has become a leading advocate for clean, ethical, and sustainable business practices in the cannabis industry. The Council was formed when The Ethical Cannabis Alliance founded in Portland, Oregon, and the Organic Cannabis Association based in Denver, Colorado came together to create one organization.
#WhatsInMyWeed is a campaign that aims to highlight the connection between organic, fine foods, and cannabis. By reminding customers that they insist on organic, fair trade, cage-free, grass-fed and more when it comes to what they eat, The Cannabis Certification Council urges them to demand the same transparency and quality when purchasing cannabis.
One thing we simply can’t ignore when analyzing this campaign is the striking similarity between the #WhatsInMyWeed branding and the creative design introduced by Houseplant, Seth Rogen, and Canopy Growth’s Canadian recreational cannabis brand.
”We had the pleasure of working with the Cannabis Certification Council on the relaunch of their What's In My Weed campaign. As cannabis consumers ourselves and believing in the medicinal aspects of the plant first and foremost, we've always been advocates of clean cannabis consumption. Working on the #WhatsInMyWeed Campaign was a natural fit for our company ethos and a fun outlet for the work produced by The Council. We are thrilled that this important campaign has been recognized amongst some stellar companies as a finalist for Campaign of the Year. This is only the beginning of #WIMW; we are excited to see this messaging continue to take root and spark more conscious consumers everywhere in the upcoming year.Lucy Rose, Founder, Youwho Brand
Charlotte’s Web – Trust The Earth
Charlotte’s Web by the Stanley Brothers is a Colorado-based manufacturer of hemp-derived CBD products. The company offers oils, gummies, capsules, topicals, and even products for canines. The brand is dedicated to the late Charlotte Figi, a little girl that inspired the CBD movement in America.
The brand used a tractor to create a 3,049,200 square foot art installation in an agricultural field in Kansas, “America’s Heartland”. Charlotte’s Web partnered with Studio Number One to execute this massive OOH and digital campaign. The symbolic message was displayed to honor and fight for access to hemp and CBD products. When viewed overhead, the message reads “Trust The Earth” and “Hemp For Natural Health”. The image is of a hand holding a cannabis or hemp leaf in the air as the sun shines over mountains in the background. To promote the installation, the brand created an emotional one and a half minute video posted on YouTube detailing the creative process behind the campaign.
The video’s narrator states “This is for the farmers. For the veterans. For the children. The parents. For everyone on earth who believes in the power of hemp. This symbolizes the men, women, and children who trust in plants to revolutionize how to care for themselves and others. This is for the warriors, who’ve earned us the right to choose hemp as an option. For the families fighting for natural alternatives. And this is for Charlotte, the little girl who inspired a movement and showed us that we all need access to the power of botanicals. Because this isn’t just art, this is our mission. It’s what drove our founders, The Stanley Brothers, to start Charlotte’s Web. To give everyone an opportunity to reach out to Mother Nature for a helping hand. This is our fight, every day. Join us in the fight for access to hemp. TrustTheEarth.com”
Canndescent – Justice Joints
CANNDESCENT is a leading premium cannabis company based in California. CANNDESCENT pioneered and popularized effect-based marketing in the cannabis space with their Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge product categories.
The organization announced the launch of “JUSTICE JOINTS” in early October, a first-of-its-kind brand that is donating 100% of its profits to social justice initiatives. The brand will be contributing to causes that foster the participation and ownership of BIPOC communities within the cannabis industry and fight for prisoner release, expungement, and re-entry programs for individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis charges. To support these causes, they partnered with The Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit coalition in support of criminal record expungement, release, and reentry programs.
”JUSTICE JOINTS provides an opportunity for the entire cannabis community to rally and to change the world we have into the one we want. Thank you ADCANN for acknowledging our efforts to #SPARKCHANGE.Adrian Sedlin, CEO, Canndescent
Eaze – Highly Calculated Delivery
Eaze is a cannabis marketplace and mobile app that facilitates delivery across California. The company was founded in 2014 and is very popular in the San Francisco Bay Area. Eaze offers “highly calculated cannabis delivery”, which they successfully communicated in their latest state-wide advertising campaign.
Highly Calculated is the latest Out Of Home billboard cannabis marketing campaign produced by Eaze. The campaign includes several witty sayings, jokes, and plays-on-words to promote their delivery service. Their billboards almost follow a “meme” joke format, starting with a random fact or statement and ending with a sentence that connects the first statement to cannabis. One example is: “It takes 3,240 tons of fuel to reach the moon. Or 1 gram of Sour Diesel.”
All of Eaze’s content and creative communications are bright and vivid – with their signature baby blue and salmon pink color scheme. These billboards and their social media creative feature close-up images of model’s faces and bodies along with playful high-quality stock imagery.
Weedmaps – Uprooted
Weedmaps is the world’s first and largest cannabis technology company based in Orange County, California. Weedmaps operates the largest directory of cannabis storefronts, doctors/clinics, and brands across North America and Europe. The company started as a way to find weed and reviews, essentially a cannabis-version of Yelp, but has transformed into a massive media and marketplace organization. Weedmaps recently announced that they will soon be going public on the NASDAQ with a valuation of $1.5 billion dollars.
Uprooted is a three-part documentary series produced by Weedmaps starting in December of 2019. The company conducted interviews with political activists, attorneys, veterans, medical patients, small business owners, and city workers – in an effort to “understand how California’s forward-thinking, compassionate, and adventurous cannabis culture turned into a restrictive, profit-driven, and inequitable system and industry.” The series sheds light on all of the challenges of California’s legal recreational market and strives to bring awareness and change to the industry. Viewers can watch the series on YouTube and Weedmaps’ website.
”We are honored that Weedmaps has been selected as a finalist for the ADCANN Campaign of the Year Award. We produced Uprooted to shine a light on the shortcomings of cannabis legalization in California, how it overlooked disadvantaged communities affected by the failed War on Drugs, and how we can begin to fix some of these missteps. With recent elections opening up new cannabis markets across the country, we hope that the issues raised in Uprooted inspire viewers to support local efforts to build a more equitable cannabis economy.Rebecca Larzik, Director of Brand, Weedmaps
American Cannabis Marketing Campaign Trends
- Legalization Efforts
Many states are still fighting for medical and recreational legalization, while others are dealing with the repercussions of imperfect legislation. Weedmaps’ “Uprooted” documentary series perfectly explores and explains these issues and has resonated with consumers and industry folk alike. Charlotte Web’s “Trust The Earth” campaign is part of their ongoing mission to “open up access to hemp CBD, especially for those who depend on it for quality of life.” By creating a newsworthy installation, they brought increased awareness of the benefits of CBD and the restrictive legislation currently in place. Until cannabis is federally legal across America, legalization efforts will continue to be relevant and popular marketing campaigns.
- Social Justice Causes
2020 was the year that brought many social justice causes to the forefront of society’s attention. Weedmaps, Charlotte’s Web, Canndescent, and the Cannabis Certification Council all focused their marketing efforts on improving certain aspects of the cannabis industry. Canndescent’s Justice Joints is the best example of this advocacy, donating 100% of its profits to social justice initiatives and fighting for the inclusion of BIPOC in the industry. Consumers will continue to buy from brands that support causes they align with. Initiatives similar to Justice Joints are great for both the industry and consumers.
Transparency and honesty continue to be incredibly important for both consumers and businesses. Consumers want access to data about the products they are using and the producers they are purchasing from (leading to the popularity of educational apps such as Weedmaps and Eaze). The Cannabis Certification Council’s #WhatsInMyWeed campaign aims to establish a standard for organically and ethically grown cannabis while promoting sustainability in the industry. Campaigns that educate consumers so that they can make informed choices will continue to be popular in the future.
Last Updated on December 30, 2020 by ADCANN