Folium Labs aims to address nutritional needs of cannabis users

The cannabis wellness company's multivitamin is branded to reach "health-conscious and optimistic" users.

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Canada company Folium Labs has marked its entrance into the cannabis space with an unconventional proposition: to help frequent and occasional cannabis users optimize their experiences through a daily multivitamin.

The nutraceutical products manufacturer pitches itself as a “cannabis wellness company,” though its first line of products contains no CBD or THC. Rather, its first foray into the space – a brand called Livli – is a line of nutritional supplements that address the cognitive and physical effects of cannabis use.

A 2017 study by Health Canada found that many people report cannabis as having a “negative effect” on their physical and cognitive state. Those surveyed reported experiencing difficulties with motivation and ambition (57%), memory (58%), concentration (59%), attention (60%) and thinking and decision making (62%). Moreover, Folium cites research from VivaData that showed 33% of cannabis users will buy nutraceuticals – pharmaceutical-grade nutrients – to help offset those effects.

That’s where Livli comes in, says Folium Labs CEO Dmitri Boudovitch. While consumers could technically take a cocktail of vitamins and other nutrients to help support their cannabis use, Folium designed its Livli supplements to address the specific needs of cannabis users. It contains antioxidants that support a healthier functioning liver, lungs and heart and works to drive better overall metabolism.

Which is why Boudovitch is adamant that his company is pro-cannabis use. “We realized that we can optimize that experience, we can improve it,” he says. He’s hesitant to refer to the effects of cannabis as “side-effects” (a word that risks frightening consumers) prefering to think of them as “drawbacks.”

ttc vertical posterFolium worked with Toronto boutique agency LP/AD on launching the Livli brand. It had a hand in developing the brand and messaging, with a special focus on attracting “health-conscious and optimistic” millennials and Gen Xers, says Boudovitch.

LP/AD took a very functional and educational approach to developing the initial launch campaign, says Alex Shifrin, president of the agency. The reasons were twofold. For one, Livli plays in a “partially restricted category” due to its cannabis alignment, he says.

While the product does not contain CBD or THC and can be legally sold and advertised in Canada, media companies remain wary of ads containing overt cannabis references. Secondly, Shifrin says as few people are familiar with multivitamins designed to specifically for cannabis users, the product is one that “requires a lot of explanation at the early stages.”

Ads supporting the launch ask simply, “Is green giving you the blues?,” and invite people to learn more. The copy is posed on a backdrop of pastel green fading into blue, colours that speak to the brand’s more lifestyle approach.

The launch campaign is running on social (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) and includes an ongoing influencer program and PR. OOH placements with the TTC are expected to begin in March, and Boudovitch says the company has been working with channels and partners in the cannabis space, such as cannabis websites Lift & Co and Leafly and the women-focused Herbalife.

Boudovitch says the packaging, which LP/AD also designed, plays more to cosmetic and cannabis cues than traditional nutraceuticals. Whereas pills and supplements are something that people tend to hide in their medicine cabinet, “we wanted people to be open about this,” Shifrin says. Moreover, it used packaging that resembles cannabis baggies with the glam of cosmetics in a pivot away from pill bottles, which convey illness, according to Boudovitch.

Folium is developing other cannabinoid-based products, expected to launch in the first quarter of next year. It currently sells Livli directly to consumers from its website, in one retailer store in Toronto, and will soon be listed for sale on Amazon.