2020 has been an interesting year for cannabis marketing in Canada. With the forced closure of many retail stores due to COVID-19 related lockdowns, much of the focus turned towards digital marketing instead of trade/retail activations and events/conferences. Canadian cannabis brands found creative ways to continue connecting with consumers despite all of the regulatory and social distancing restrictions. Let’s take a look at the Canadian cannabis marketing campaign finalists as voted by you, the ADCANN community.
If you haven’t already, be sure to vote for your favourite Canadian Cannabis Marketing Campaign in the 2020 ADCANN Awards.
BLK MKT – Terps on Bottles
BLKMKT, the premium flagship recreational brand from GTEC Cannabis Co, became the first in Canada to list terpene content and percentages on their packaging in August of this year. Before this, no other brand in the recreational market openly provided this information on packaging, and only a select few offered access to terpene profiles via their website or social media. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds of cannabis and give consumers an indication about what to expect when it comes to flavour, aroma, and even effects of a given strain. BLKMKT’s move to publish terpenes on their labels is part of an industry-wide trend towards transparency driven by the demands of knowledgeable consumers.
BLKMKT is targeting experienced connoisseurs with this campaign. These consumers are typically familiar with purchasing cannabis from the informal market, whether that be in a non-licensed dispensary or from a friend. In these buying situations, consumers were able and encouraged to examine and smell the product before purchasing. In a heavily regulated retail environment that essentially restricts consumers from gauging the quality of dried flowers before they purchase them, this terpene content can be incredibly useful. Since BLKMKT announced this campaign on social media, several other producers in the medical and recreational markets have begun to also include terpene information on their packaging. This campaign is truly trend-setting and timely.
”The industry response to us being the first rec brand to add the Terpene breakdown to our packaging has been incredible. Seeing so many other brands inspired to follow and also include Terpene profiles on their packaging has been rewarding, as is hearing that Health Canada is fostering discussion on whether to make this a mandatory label requirement. We are grateful for the strong support from the community, and we're eager to continue finding ways to help drive this industry forward while also improving the consumer experience.Adil Hirji, Head of Marketing
Kolab – Project Recycles
Kolab Project, a recreational cannabis brand championing arts, culture, and design from Auxly Group, recently launched a recycling program in collaboration with Greentec, a certified e-waste company that refurbishes, securely destroys, and recycles electronic devices. Kolab Project’s vape and pre-roll packaging are also 100% biodegradable and environmentally-friendly, showing a consistent and holistic commitment on behalf of the brand.
Kolab Project-branded E-waste recycling bins were rolled out to Canadian retailers starting in the summer. These bins accept vapes, cartridges, and batteries from all licensed producers. To promote the campaign, Kolab Project posted on their brand social media channels and Auxly ran several paid press releases.
Flowr – Art & Science
Flowr is the flagship recreational brand from The Flowr Corporation, headquartered in Toronto with their grow operations in Kelowna, British Columbia. The brand mostly offers dried flower and pre-rolled joint products, with a laser focus on their popular indica-dominant BC Pink Kush cultivar. Flowr created a variety of marketing campaigns this year including Project Homegrown, a home gardening content program that included pre-packaged herb seeds along with a downloadable Growing Guide containing expert advice from their own Master Cannabis Growers. Their number one campaign nominated by the community this year was Art & Science.
Art & Science was the big idea behind Flowr’s first digital marketing campaign. Focusing on their flagship strain BC Pink Kush, it speaks to the quality and they shared ultra high-quality images or “nugshots”. With the strain having high THC and terpene percentages combined with the beautiful looking buds, the campaign was very well received on social media.
”At Flowr, we believe that a tight range is a hallmark of quality. We strive to provide our consumers with consistently high-quality cannabis. The insight was really built on the idea that, when it comes to cannabis, you simply never know what you’re going to get. The inconsistency in THC ranges for the same product can be extraordinary and that doesn’t help consumers understand the effect of a certain product.Nicole Wolff, Brand Director
Tweed – Highly Refreshing
Tweed is one of the first-ever cannabis brands to launch in Canada and is recognized by most legal weed consumers in the country. Tweed, owned by Canopy Growth Corporation, has been around since 2013. They have previously masterminded some of the largest and most well-known campaigns in cannabis including “Hi” and “Don’t Drive High”. This year, the brand introduced “Highly Refreshing”, a colourful and uplifting campaign to drive awareness for their beverage products.
The campaign is meant to introduce consumers to the concept of drinking their weed. Canopy Growth is positioning cannabis beverages as a cool new alternative to alcohol and is trying to convert alcohol consumers to their products. The creative was fully developed in-house and running exclusively online through social media, email newsletters, and paid display advertisements. Much of the imagery emphasizes “alcohol-free”, which the brand believes will help normalize and familiarize the cannabis beverage category. The campaign is product-focused, straight-forward, and simple.
Solei – Find your Moment
Solei is a brand created by Aphria that sets out to “demystify cannabis” with uncomplicated and easy-to-understand language. Their growing practices and packaging have a heavy focus on sustainability. The brand is “curated for the familiar moments of every day”. Solei offers a wide variety of cannabis products including dried flower, pre-rolled joints, and various vaporizers.
Solei’s “Find Your Moment” promotion is an on-going campaign that the brand launched with. Most recently, Find Your Moment has been used to promote Solei’s vaporizer products – including PAX pods, 510-threaded cartridges, disposable pens, and branded batteries. The campaign includes images of their vapes with different sayings and situations crossed out and replaced with alternatives that help you find your moment. Examples include “C̶r̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶T̶i̶m̶e̶ Down Time” and “S̶c̶r̶e̶e̶n̶ ̶T̶i̶m̶e̶ Bath Time”.
”It’s truly an honor to be nominated for Campaign of the Year! Our team is ecstatic and so grateful to be recognized for Solei’s “Find Your Moment” campaign. Between our team and our agency partners, a lot of time and thought goes into building campaigns that provide value to our customers through education, while also driving awareness. We leverage our curated Moments platform to help people navigate our high-quality products based on their own needs. We believe this nomination is proof that our approach is resonating with consumers, which makes our entire team proud of the work we’re doing.Bernard “Bernie” Yeung, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Aphria Inc.
Canadian Cannabis Marketing Campaign Trends
- Transparency and Quality
As legal cannabis evolves, Canadian consumers are continuing to demand transparency from their producers. This comes in many forms, including publishing COAs and terpene data, answering questions and concerns on social media, disclosing lineage and breeder information along with explaining growing and finishing techniques. BLKMKT’s terps on bottles was a defining moment for the industry, as we’ve already seen several producers following suit. Along with transparency, consumers have become laser-focused on quality and high-quality products. Flowr’s Art & Science campaign is a great example of messaging that speaks to this enthusiast that is looking for a top-shelf offering. The campaign successfully emphasized the quality of their product, specifically their BC Pink Kush flower. Consumers want companies to speak their language – which is a language of transparency, quality, consistency, and truthfulness.
- Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility campaigns continue to be some of the most rewarding marketing efforts for Licensed Producers and cannabis brands. Last year, Tweed won Campaign Of The Year with their “Don’t Drive High” collaboration with Uber and MADD. This year, environment-related and social justice causes took center stage. Kolab Project’s recycling program is the latest of this type of green initiative to be launched. Tweed and TerraCycle first launched a similar campaign back in October of 2018. A group of LPs including 48North, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc., Canopy Growth, Cronos Group, and the Cannabis Council of Canada announced earlier this month that they will also be piloting a national vape recycling program that will help consumers dispose of vape hardware safely and responsibly, following Kolab Project/Auxly’s lead. Consumers and industry participants alike are fond of initiatives that help reduce waste from the legal cannabis industry. We foresee this trend continuing into the future.
- A Shift Towards CPG
Part of the Canadian cannabis industry is making a shift towards a Consumer Packaged Good approach in marketing and branding. We are finally starting to see some highly-produced campaigns with well-defined messaging and professional graphic design. Tweed’s “Highly Refreshing” creative and Solei’s “Find Your Moment” campaign are both examples of marketing that could be seen in any number of CPG industries. With the launch of branded cannabis 2.0 products such as vaporizers, edibles, and beverages – many large Canadian cannabis brands are beginning to use more mainstream-type imagery and messaging as opposed to pictures of cannabis flowers and buds and descriptions about terpenes and cannabinoid levels. Brands using this strategy are typically targeting a newer and more casual consumer, while brands embracing the “transparency and quality” trend are typically targeting experienced enthusiasts. We will continue to see this divide in promotional strategies, which is only natural as cannabis companies continue to further define their precise chosen target consumer and value proposition.
Which of these brands had the best Canadian Cannabis Marketing Campaign?
Last Updated on December 30, 2020 by ADCANN