Cannabis and CBD brands are shelling out right now to reach homebound (and possibly anxiety-ridden) consumers. In most states, Cannabis and CBD have been deemed an essential service so we anticipate dispensaries in applicable states to remain open, and brands in the booming category to continue pushing ads to stay top of mind.
The industry currently predicts an increase in consumption amid the coronavirus pandemic, especially among GenZ and Millennial consumers. If you’re prospecting this category, here’s the scoop on five cannabis brands signaling rising spend and partnership potential on the horizon.
Earlier this year Curaleaf acquired Cura Cannabis Solutions and achieved vertical integration status by acquiring Arrow Alternative Care – expanding opportunities in eligible markets. Jason White of Cura became Curaleaf’s CMO, signaling the potential for a new agency hire on the horizon.
Since cannabis has been named an essential service, Curaleaf’s dispensaries remain open despite the global pandemic. To ensure safety, the company now offers express pickup and is launching a curbside service soon. Its products do not seem to be available via eCommerce since cannabis is not yet legal throughout the States.
At this point, Curaleaf targets markets in FL, CT, MA, NJ, OR, AZ, ME, MD and NY, with a target demographic primarily consisting of Gen-X.
According to the company’s Q1 2020 earnings call, cbdMD, is reporting increased online sales due to their bolstered marketing tactics. The North Carolina-based company had expanded into major league athlete partnerships and affiliate programs pushing their direct marketing budget above $2 million in FY 2019.
While events and trade shows everywhere have adjusted their outlook amid coronavirus, cbdMD has pivoted their focus as well, producing opportunity on digital channels such as display, while paid social and influencer initiatives have increased as more and more people are consuming content. We expect their social and digital spend to increase into Summer 2020.
Luckily for hemp-based goods company Charlotte’s Web (CW), it launched its e-Commerce platform late last year, before the coronavirus panic hit. According to its most recent earnings call, CW recently transformed its earned media model, improved its online experience and launched a “Trust the Earth” marketing campaign. In Q4 2019, its D2C channel reached its highest conversion rates in the history of CW, hitting double-digits in key revenue weeks. In 2020, we expect the company will continue to focus on D2C and will phase its marketing spend more evenly.
CW is primarily focused on earned media channels; but will likely be interested in digital display, paid social, OTT and/or podcast ad space. The brand tends to primarily target consumers in CO and CA, especially millennial and Gen-Z parents.
In light of COVID-19, CW also set up a donation to help provide food for dogs and puppies in need of continuing their service dog training via a partnership with Freedom Service Dogs of America. CW additionally raised local support for Children’s Hospital CO.
Agency & martech readers – Studio Number One worked with Charolette’s Web on their “Trust The Earth” campaign, but there may be project work available.
4. Wana Brands
For our Midwest friends, Wana Brans expanded into Missouri as well as hired a new CMO, Joe Hodas in March. The cannabis-infused edibles brand will become available for MO medical dispensaries in Q4 2020. Wana Brands already has a heavy presence in Midwest to West states like IL, MI, OH, AZ, CA, CO, OR and OK, however they have not expanded to the Southeast or Northeast.
New CMO’s tend to trigger agency reviews – we suggest reaching out as soon as possible!
This is an opportunity to keep in mind for further down the road, as the brand is still establishing itself, but it’s a good one to create some traction with early. Affordable medical cannabis company, Aurora is looking to drive growth through increased marketing initiatives. The Canadian based company Aurora has raised a total of $429 million in funding in more than three rounds; as recent as September 2019 from a post-IPO debt round, reported by Crunchbase.
According to Adbeat, we saw Aurora place ads programmatically via Google in 2018, so we anticipate a return to this channel. As the company looks to boost marketing spend, we predict more programmatic digital ads with an emphasis on younger consumers. You may have the easiest time securing paid social and/or hyper-localized ad dollars. Medical cannabis goods are available in 33 states and DC; view a full list of these areas here. Aurora’s products are also (primarily) available online.