With the rise of many new brands, retail stores being able to reopen their doors, and the continued focus on digital marketing instead of trade/retail activations and events/conferences. Through the swath of red tape, Canadian cannabis brands have found creative ways to connect with their consumers while sharing their stories. Looking further than ever before, ADCANN is proud to also feature the best marketing campaigns out of the United States of America – which sees a whole new set of marketing challenges given the state of cannabis with their federal government

Let’s go through the finalists as voted by you, the ADCANN community.

If you haven’t already, be sure to vote for your favourite Cannabis Marketing Campaign in the 2021 ADCANN Awards.

“Nothing to Hide” – Flowr

Despite Canada having legalized cannabis in 2018, many consumers still feel the social stigma that the War on Drugs has created around cannabis; Flowr‘s newest campaign, “Nothing to Hide”, seeks to dispel this stigma.

Featuring Millie Jackson’s “I’m Tired of Hiding”, the short video advertisement shows various locations where cannabis consumers have historically hidden their stash, before shifting to the same locals with Flowr’s gorgeous glass packaging prominently featured in the space.

This campaign also encourages their consumers to “come out of the drawer” by tagging Flowr’s Instagram with the hashtag “#unstashed” for a chance to have their cannabis consumption space featured in the campaign.

“Flower with Deep Roots” – Pure Sunfarms

Showing off their cultivars, facility, and history, Pure Sunfarms’ “Flowers with Deep Roots” campaign instantly appeals to legacy users chasing their pre-2018 experiences. Telling the story of their conversion of an old tomato greenhouse into their top-of-the-line cannabis facility and those who occupy it, this campaign invokes nostalgia which is tied to their line of cultivars experienced consumers from the unregulated market recognize.

Through highlighting their practices, local, and history, Pure SunFarms captures the attention of those seeking “B.C Bud” and the budtenders who serve them daily.

Puresun Farms Marketing Material

Artist Collaboration Series – Palmetto 

Sundial’s Palmetto brand is seeking to challenge the concept that branding behind a line is boring just because of its compliance with the restrictive laws on cannabis & cannabis marketing. 

While not made apparent on their basic website, the imagery behind the brand was created through collaboration with various accredited artists. Blending Dali-esque surrealism with neo-traditional and punk-inspired art, their website features artwork to truly capture one’s attention.

Palmetto Marketing Material

“Monday Merries” – Back Forty

Hating Mondays is so cliche, and Back Forty is seeking to change that. Through their National Sparks Department website, they challenge the notion that Mondays are for “grinding” by instead challenging their consumers to put themselves first. 

The website’s imagery is full of 80’s nostalgia through the use of color and features a pledge to be a “Monday Conservationist”; to treat oneself, embrace low motivation, abandon the workplace, and “face important decisions by ignoring them”.

Cannabis AR Poster – GreenSeal

Retail stores are often flooded with all kinds of display elements, from posters to uniquely constructed conversation pieces made to demonstrate a brand. Often, it is just photos of the product with information behind it’s cannabinoids and terpene profile. 

GreenSeal has elevated what posters in a retailer can be through their use of AR – or “Augmented Reality”. When you find a GreenSeal display, a customer can use their smartphone to make the imagery spring to life, showing off GreenSeal’s impressive facility. Through this, GreenSeal invites clients to explore their brand deeper and excited both new and existing consumers in the space.

“Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet” – Truss Beverage Co.

While cannabis beverages are an exciting new category for many, it is often the least represented category in retailers. Playing off of the LCBO, Ontario’s sole alcohol distributor, Truss Beverage Co. launched a two-day takeover of Miss Jones Cannabis – Osgood Outpost to create the Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet – or the LCBO.

Taking the iconic green used by the government LCBO, this campaign drew the eyes and the attention of both new and experienced clients, encouraging them to visit a different LCBO for their beverage needs.

Truss LCBO

The Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet campaign encourages Canadians to reimagine their local cannabis retailer as another option for adult beverages - and the only place to find cannabis-infused beverages. Ask questions, educate yourself and try something new.

Lori Hatcher, Head of Marketing, Truss Beverage Co.

Cannabis Creative Movement – PufCreativ x The 9th Block

PufCreativ and The 9th Block have joined forces to show that companies can utilize their platform to both educate and aid their customers while marketing. The Cannabis Creative Movement offers a variety of PDF guides on topics tied to cannabis with their Leaf 411 Opioid Awareness Guide & CannaCurious Guide for Women – offering education on utilizing cannabis as an opioid alternative and offering women (an underrepresented group in cannabis) basic knowledge on consumption.

The Cannabis Creative Movement also goes one further through utilizing their platform for other critical issues facing the cannabis industry by offering resources such as their Mental Health Check, Sexual Assault Support Guide, and The Wake Up Project Suicide Prevention Guide. Through offering these resources while supporting groups who specialize in these causes, the Cannabis Creative Movement demonstrates how cannabis & cannabis auxiliary brands can use their platforms and marketing budgets to create meaningful social change that will help & capture the attention of cannabis consumers.

Cannabis Creative Movement Guide

“#4ward20 Challenge” – Wana

While Wana is a recognized brand in Canada, this year its American side challenged its users to celebrate 4/20 in both fun & pandemic-friendly fashion.

Leading up to April 20th, Wana Brands released a daily “4ward20 Challenge” to its users. These challenges ranged from silly to socially conscious, by challenging users to tasks such as “get dressed up, even if it’s to feel good at home” and even to donate time or money to a social equity organization. Consumers were encouraged to bring their participation online through the use of the hashtag & tagging Wana for a chance to win limited-edition branded swag.

“#4ward20 is not just about what happens on April 20. It is a celebration of resilience and the relationships that have carried us through the past year and a reminder that hope and kindness will help us reach the finish line of this pandemic, of course, #4ward20 is also a pretty good reason to enjoy some of your favorite cannabis products too.” – Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands

Wana 420

“High Seltzer” – Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon, a staple to many college students, is keeping the blue ribbon while “going green”. The alcohol giant announced it would be partnering with Vertose to take the “Hard Seltzer” trend of 2021 and adapt it for cannabis consumers with the launch of their “High Seltzer” – a 5mg or 10mg of THC, alcohol-free beverage. 

Found on the Pabst Labs website, the imagery is no different than what one would expect from an alcoholic counterpart – feature product shots that make users look twice.

Pabst High Seltzer

Legalization Hypocrisy – Monogram

While many celebrities rush to the legal cannabis market, one is sure to address the inequality of many being behind bars for selling the same product. Shawn Carter, or as many of us know him, Jay-Z, has hit the American legal market with his brand Monogram.

Working with the creative shop Mischief @ No Fixed Address, Monogram launched a series of billboards featuring shocking facts about the legal status of cannabis overlayed above eight photos of people charged with cannabis-related crimes.

Beginning with Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C, and Miami with plans to expand to other states, and to feature video testimonials, this campaign draws eyes to not just the brand but the hypocrisy of American drug laws.

Monogram's Campaign

Cannabis laws are out of date and disproportionately cruel and punishing when compared to the rest of the legal code, I created this campaign to amplify the voices of those who have been penalized for the very same thing that venture capitalists are now prospering from with the emerging legal cannabis market.

Shawn Carter

Which of these cannabis brands had the best marketing campaign?

Vote for them in the ADCANN Awards 2021

Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by ADCANN

William Zorn

William Zorn

Certified Cannabis Sommelier & Twitch Affiliate; William is currently an expert in digital cannabis marketing.