Will Tweed convert alcohol drinkers?

With a new beverage, the brand sets its eyes on driving sales away from the alcohol category and into cannabis.

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To help grow the cannabis category, Tweed is hoping alcohol consumers will trial its new RTDs, launching a new “Highly Refreshing” campaign.

The campaign is meant to introduce consumers to the concept of “drinking their weed,” as well as to provide information on the cannabis-infused SKUs (called Houndstooth and Soda, and Bakerstreet and Ginger), which began rolling into Tweed and Tokyo Smoke retail stores in March 2020.

“Beverages are an easy way for people to try cannabis out. There’s no hangover, minimal calories, and we can make them taste delicious,” says Andrew Rapsey, head of recreational marketing for Canopy Growth, Tweed’s parent company.

The creative (developed in-house and running online) emphasizes “alcohol free,” and Rapsey says the strategy is to educate, build familiarity, and normalize the cannabis beverage category.

“Our campaign creative clearly calls out exactly what the product is (cannabis-infused beverage) while reflecting a traditional beverage ad, with product messaging that’s simple and straightforward to understand,” Rapsey says.

While Canadian cannabis regulations prohibit lifestyle marketing and product visuals, the brand is looking to demonstrate how “drinking cannabis-infused Tweed beverages [can] look and feel normal,” he says.

Rapsey adds that the “Highly Refreshing” is targeted at cannabis intenders who currently consume alcohol. The brand is targeting alcohol consumers based on internal insights that show 20% of people who have tried its RTDs say they would replace an alcoholic drink with the cannabis-infused beverage.

Canadians, he says, have trialled comparable U.S beverages, but these tend to be extremely high in potency (up to 100mg/THC per unit in some cases, considerably more than Tweed’s 2mg of THC) and so the strategy was to have lower dosed serving sizes so that people can purposefully control their consumption like they do beer, for example.

Rapsey adds that the brand wanted the packaging to be consistent with its other formats like dried flowers and pre-rolled joints. There is also a shopper marketing component that includes tent cards and fridge decals to attract cannabis-curious consumers in stores.

“We know that communications at the store level play a very critical and important role for cannabis shoppers,” Rapsey says. “While our above the line campaign will drive consumers to store, we want continued and consistent communications once the shopper gets to the store and at the pivotal point of purchase.”

Rapsey adds the brand has sold about 60% of all cannabis cans, including competition, so far this year.

The campaign will be in running across age-gated digital and social placements throughout the summer.

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