Rethink makes rolling papers that double as straws for Truss

The Molson-Hexo joint venture takes a masterbrand approach to introducing a "trusted" family of cannabis-infused drinks.
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As it introduces its products to Canadians this week, Truss Beverages is aiming to help consumers ease their way into cannabis-infused drinks, working with AOR Rethink to create rolling papers that can easily be turned into straws.

An online video shows exactly how rolling papers can be turned into straws, saying it is a “new way” for people to enjoy cannabis as they might be familiar with it – referring not just to the repurposed papers, but to Truss’ cannabis drinks as a whole.

This week, Truss unveiled its five new cannabis beverage brands, each one targeted at a different occasion in the brand-new category. They include the wellness-focused Veryvell, House of Terpenes for socializing and the more general and approachable Little Victory.

However, Sean McDonald, managing partner and head of strategy at Rethink, says the cannabis beverage company wanted to also take a masterbrand approach as a way to introduce Truss as a company, with campaigns launching individual product brands coming at some point in the future.

“Given that they are not cannabis generalists, they are beverage specialists, the idea is to introduce Truss through the looking glass of all their brands,” he says, reiterating what Truss Beverages’ CMO Lori Hatcher recently told strategy about wanting to be seen as a beverage company entering and disrupting the cannabis space. “What we’re doing right now is letting people know that there is a selection from a brand you can trust.”

McDonald says this is “the advent of an entirely new” category, when brand allegiances and product preferences have yet to be determined. Cannabis beverages were heavily hyped due to investment from major beverage companies like Molson and Labatt, cannabis producers like Canopy Growth and several new upstarts. But despite being legalized at the end of last year, their rollout has been delayed, as producers have faced issues like scaling production and hurdles around taste and product quality. To date, product selections remain limited: Truss is joining Canopy’s Tweed, Houseplant and Deep Space brands, Labatt and Tilray’s Everie, and A1 Cannabis’ Basecamp and Summit drinks.

But McDonald says the fact that the category remains so new makes it more helpful for consumers to see an array of choices, and make them confident in trying out which might be right for them by putting them under a single masterbrand that they can trust.

“At a time when consumers are trying to figure out who they can trust and who is reliable in terms of efficacy and reasonable consumption, it’s just a brand that you can rely on to give you a good quality product,” he says. With that in mind, understanding of both cannabis and beverages is something the agency aimed to get across in the campaign by showing it understands the traditions of both.