The 2022 Cannabis Clio Awards: Cannabis Marketers Take Note
By Gregory Frye
The fourth annual Clio Cannabis Awards happened last week in Las Vegas.
Some people may ask: what’s the big deal?
The Clio Awards have been around since 1960 as a way to recognize “creative excellence in advertising, design, and communication.”
When cannabis became an official category in 2019, it was a great boost for the industry.
The idea was and is to set new standards for marketing and communication in the space, while helping others learn more about the developing landscape of legalized weed.
If you take the time to look through some of the Clio Cannabis winners this year, you’ll see what compelling and successful cannabis marketing materials look like.
You’ll find brands showing a strong awareness of their audience.
You’ll discover examples of great storytelling in cannabis marketing.
For any cannabis brand looking for creatives sparks, this is a great place to start.
Here are a few hand-picked examples:
Weed’s Come a Long Way, Baby
Flower by Edie Parker won Clio gold with “The Billboard Campaign That’s Revolutionizing Cannabis Advertising.”
This visual campaign celebrates the open diversity of cannabis consumers. And these are not your stereotypical stoners but rather people from all walks of life.
Going forward, we will see a lot more cannabis marketing featuring everyday folks because the industry is finally realizing that it doesn’t make sense to cater to only a select few demographics.
If it’s not equity don’t @ us
A lot of cannabis brands use their social media platform to showcase how awesome their product is – a strategy that resonates with no one.
Meanwhile, Cann Social Tonics won Clio silver with their social media entry entitled “If it’s not equity, don’t @ us,” where they highlight the racist absurdity behind the entire War on Drugs.
Everybody ought to know these truth bombs, however most people don’t. If cannabis brands aren’t going to spread the word through storytelling like this, who will?
Remember: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
While many people are enjoying safe access to cannabis, we must never forget the tens of thousands who are still locked away in prison due to anti-cannabis laws.
AROYA and Serviceplan Germany won a Clio Grand award for Freedom Grams, “a cannabis brand that comes in the exact amounts for which others are still in prison.”
The amount is prominently displayed in each package, 18.0 grams, 23.5 grams, 8.7 grams. Every time you open you’re weed, you’ll be reminded that someone else is locked away for the exact same thing.
What’s more all proceeds go towards freeing these people through partners like the Last Prisoner Project.
The BVG Hempticket – Come home, calm down
The edible BVG Hempticket might be my favorite, and I’ll tell you why.
In conjunction with Jung von Matt AG, Berlin, Germany’s public transport company BVG issued an edible “Hempticket” during the holidays. The idea was people could eat their ticket and enjoy a calming effect to help remedy the stressful period leading up to Christmas.
To some, this may sound like a corny gimmick, however the impact is very real. The campaign reached approximately 860,000,000 people around the world.
I’ve never seen such a far-reaching attempt to educate people about the power of hemp.
Granted, hemp edibles (in this case a public transport ticket) barely scratch the surface of much-needed hemp applications.
At the same time it’s mind-blowing to see a public transport company embrace and encourage the consumption of cannabinoids.
We need more of this. More people consuming cannabis is a good thing.
The 2022 Honorary Clio Cannabis Award
Last but not least, Berner, CEO of Cookies, took the stage to accept the distinguished Honorary Clio Cannabis Award.
“Each year, this special honor goes to an individual whose creative contributions have shaped popular culture, championed the benefits of cannabis and paved the way for better understanding of the marketplace,” Clio Cannabis noted in a press release.
Later that night, Berner took to Instagram with his humbling thoughts on the award. "I’ve been put in a box my whole and stereotyped because what I do for a living, this felt good," he wrote.
BONUS: The 2022 Clio Cannabis Impact Award
Oh and how could we forget. This award may be the most important, hence the name ‘impact’.
This year the recognition went to Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project, for their “efforts to inform, register and turn out voters who are interested in cannabis policy and their work to ensure that the cannabis community is an active and informed voting bloc.”
Rocking the cannabis vote is important because it’s NOT a single issue but rather an critical public health and social focus that needs further nurturing and more political leaders who aren’t afraid to make a stand and get on the right side of history.
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