Truss wants to show people the LCBO isn’t the only place to buy drinks this summer

The cannabis-infused beverage maker is trying to shake up consumer retail habits as they prepare to socialize again.

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Cannabis-infused drinks are still a new category for most Canadians, so Truss Beverages is trying to change consumer habits and get them venture into a different retail store for their summer beverage needs.

For the “Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet” campaign, Truss is taking over downtown Toronto’s Miss Jones Cannabis, with full window wraps bearing the name of the campaign – and its convenient acronym.

Other cannabis retailers across the country are also joining the campaign in a more understated way, placing stickers and signage in their windows more simply stating something people might not have realized about their local cannabis shop: “drinks sold here.”

Truss Beverage Co._Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet_2The campaign is aimed at encouraging local consumption ahead of summer, the biggest season of the year for “social” beverages. While those products used to be more easily described as “alcoholic beverages,” as of last year, it now includes cannabis-infused beverages, and the goal of the campaign is to change consumer habits and get them to add a new retail store to their list.

“We want Canadians to know the LCBO is not the only place to get your adult beverages this summer,” says Lori Hatcher, head of marketing at Truss, a joint venture between Molson Coors and cannabis producer Hexo.

Hatcher references insights that 40% of Canadians are considering trialing cannabis infused beverages – the most recent entrant in the cannabis category, which didn’t exist a year and a half ago – but it’s a group that is still asking “where do I buy it?”

Regulations in Canada mean that retail stores are the only place consumers can buy and discover cannabis-infused beverages – unlike alcohol, where a bartender can lend their expertise to help someone who wants to try something new.

But the focus on retail is not just about having a presence where regulations allow. Truss’ research also shows that in-store remains the most important place to learn about cannabis products, and Hatcher tells strategy that the campaign is aimed at getting more consumers to imagine their local shop and its budtenders as a place to learn about this “whole new world” of cannabis beverages.

“We feel this is actually exactly the right time for this campaign,” Hatcher says, and for a couple reasons. For one, cannabis retailers have been dealing with similar struggles to other retailers during the pandemic, and as the retail licensing system has opened up in Ontario, it includes more small and independent retailers, something top of mind for many consumers.

But as consumers are preparing to gather again, Hatcher says it’s the perfect time to draw attention to this new kind of retail.

The campaign includes not only the stores takeover, but also earned media and social. It is being led by agency partners Agnostic and We Are Social, and represents a big, broad spend, second only to Truss’ initial product launch.