High on Branding. why we’ve got a need for weed

Or cannabis. Or pot or grass or bud or hemp or smoke or…. just plain marijuana. Anything but dope which is what we called it in the 1970s and which still elicits snorts of derision from my adult children when I say it. Unless it’s dope as in cool. Dope as shit.

Anyways, Now that recreational use is legal in Washington, I want a cannabis client for Gravity so bad I can taste it. Or smoke it. Whatever, the point is, there has never been a branding opportunity like this in the history of ever.

It’s going to need naming, voice, logo, marketing, packaging, creating a brand for something people have been jonesing to be legal for decades—millions using it illicitly—now suddenly this juggernaut, this leviathan of wrong and right and fun and ok/not ok product is going to be heading through the 12 items or less line with several packages of Doritos and Ding Dongs. Well there is simply no precedence for it. To a branding pro this is, pardon the pun, heady stuff.

Consider alcohol just after Prohibition. Same thing in terms of a percentage of the population always using it (making their own in the case of my Grandpa Roy) and then the liberation and libations when Prohibition was repealed. But branding and advertising were a whole other thing in those days and the breadth of products and ways to reach the audience were relatively small.

Now it’s 2014 and you’ve got a substance that millions of people want, still in a limited space with a limited supply but a wide range of ways to consume it: dried as always, oils, chews, baked goods, infusions, oh good grief, this is Everything.

And check out that target audience. Stoners, sure. No disrespect meant but like hardcore Christians and the second coming, they prayed this would happen and I can believe they are feeling the rapture. But even better and much more fun is that vast untapped, empowered, wealthy, maybe slightly hesitant but what the hell adventurous Chardonnay drinking 40-something female demographic. Okay, they don’t have to drink Chardonnay, it can be Proseco…point is, there are women who’ll want weed and that my friend is one awesome demographic. If you only market it to women, you could craft an awesome and lucrative brand is what I’m saying. But there’s more.

How fun, how new, how bad we want to boldly go where no brand has gone before. I can already imagine the smokesperson™…somebody uber cool and not too young and already a little messed up in the best way. Someone to help create the buzz. And the best part is, we’re all in on the celebration.

While many will be pushing the stuff out in whatever packs are handy and legal, there are already some stellar package designs out of Colorado and much much more to come. I’ve got to admit, even if Gravity doesn’t get in on the ground floor, I can’t wait to see how this market evolves. It’s gonna be so Far Out.

-Barbara Combs

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