Color promotes a freer cannabis experience

WeedMD designs its first recreational brand to let consumers explore outside of "use cases" popular with the competition.

SidLee_Color_PressRelease

WeedMD – a licensed producer that has built its brand in medical cannabis – has made its entry into the recreational side of the market, launching Color as a brand that aims to help Canadian consumers find a full palette of experiences with its products.

A major trope in the lead up to and in the early days of cannabis legalization was education, with licensed producers and retailers looking to guide consumers unfamiliar with cannabis. Some of those efforts focused on specific use cases for when it would be best to use different strains, such as relaxing after work, promoting better sleep, spurring creativity and enjoying time with friends.

SidLee_Color_PressReleaseColor was designed to be less prescriptive and more open-ended, doing away with those use cases in favour of keeping its design open-ended and encouraging consumers to draw from their own experiences, perspectives and preferences to guide them to which products to use and when to use them.

Kait Wilson, who was hired as director of marketing at WeedMD in January, says the brand was built to reflect the insight that “the world is not black and white” and that cannabis is a unique experience for everyone. Scientifically, it can affect people differently, but consumers also have their own preferences for how and when they might want to use it.

“Cannabis is a unique experience for everyone, and we want to stand for those experiences so people are free to determine what cannabis means for them,” Wilson says. “What we’re seeing is brands were trying anything and everything within the legal framework to connect with consumers. When I look at our gameplan, part of it will be figuring out how to get face-to-face with consumers and educate them, but help create openness so they can choose how they want to integrate it.”

SidLee_Color_PressReleaseGiven how restrictive the marketing rules for cannabis are, much of the “openness” is communicated through the brand’s design, which was handled by agency partner Sid Lee, which also leads Color’s advertising. Laura Stein, creative director at the agency, describes the design as simple but “evocative,” using open-ended language to describe the product and strains, as well photography that aims to “capture the beauty” in every day moments. All of the design elements are meant to leave things open to the consumer’s interpretation, instead of having things pushed on them.

“A lot of cannabis brands were released at the same time, and there were definitely some pockets they have fallen into,” she says. “[Color] is not about being trendy or on the bleeding edge of design, it’s about keeping things simple and easy and timeless. It feels like you remember it from a certain era, but could also see it carrying forward to the future. It feels more relaxed, and we’re not pushing boldness and urgency as hard as some other brands have.”

Wilson adds that there is an “optimism” to the design, helping Color be seen as a “feel good” brand.

Color’s main target is between the ages of 25 to 40, adds Wilson. In terms of the product, she says WeedMD’s experience on the medical side of the cannabis market allows it to provide quality products that are suited to a wide range of consumers.

Wilson says the company will plan some marketing efforts to drive awareness for the brand. While the strategy is currently being developed, Wilson – who previously spent nine years agency-side at Mosaic – did specifically mention experiential as an area the company is examining due to how effective face-to-face interactions can be in helping consumers understand the brand “on a really deep level” and making them advocates for the brand.