Flowr brings cannabis out of hiding

The brand's biggest ad campaign yet leans into its specialty to connect with more experienced users.


Flowr is trying to lessen the stigma of cannabis buying as it bucks industry trends to try and reach frequent users.

The video leading “Nothing to Hide” features dried flower weed that’s left out in a living space, rather than being stashed away, so to speak. The message is further driven home by the sound track, the 1974 Millie Jackson song “I’m Tired of Hiding,” and also emphasized by the non-furtive new cobalt blue packaging.

Visibility of the new push is being bolstered by a programmatic digital media buy – anywhere Flowr can validate a consumer is of-age – and a full-page ad running with Kind Magazine, a longtime cannabis lifestyle publication. The campaign will also be brought to life through installations at various retail locations.

In the early days of legalization, most brands tried to target new and potential cannabis users, partially in anticipation of a rush of curious consumers to the space, and partially a result of being cautious around cannabis marketing restrictions: with rules forbidding associating cannabis with a glamorous lifestyle, focusing on educating new users on occasions and effects was an easy place to fit in.

But that resulted in a glut of brands treating cannabis smokers and users as monolithic, says Nicole Wolff, Flowr’s brand director. She adds that Flowr is orienting itself more towards the “legacy” user that isn’t typically targeted, acknowledging the product’s use in everyday life, while staying on the right side of marketing rules.

While Flowr may expand into other product formats in the future, dried flower and pre-rolls are currently the brand’s specialty, says Wolff. And compared to products like oils, capsules, edibles and beverages, “inhaled” product consumers tend to be more experienced cannabis users.

According to Vivintel cannabis data, while the most popular product format is edibles (55%), it’s followed closely by traditional buds (50%), and pre-rolls (44%). And for a young company, Wolff says, it’s important not to spread itself too thin, but to grow from its foundation: Flowr’s roots are in the medical space, so it’s about embracing that legacy, but in the legal market.

Wolff says Flowr is also positioned as a high-quality, premium brand, hence highlighting the cobalt blue packaging, part of the aim to convey its seed-to-smoke premiumization. Packaging is a key touchpoint as a differentiator in this space.

Past year data on peak demand timing was a bit tough to extrapolate because of lockdowns, Wolff says, but Flowr timed the spring ad investment with the hopefulness its core demo is feeling regarding coming out of lockdowns, a ramp up towards summer, and, of course, the looming April 20. Wolff says this campaign is the largest spend the brand has made to date on advertising.

The creative was done by Zerotrillion, which has been Flowr’s AOR since 2019. Rebel & Thorn did the buy.