Cannabis companies seek creative solutions around advertising restrictions

Sep 11 2018, 6:12 pm

Health Canada’s strict regulations regarding branding and marketing for cannabis companies has emerging and established players looking to promote their businesses in non-traditional ways.

“Our cannabis clients can’t leverage social media, can’t use celebrity endorsements, or sponsor public events or festivals,” Tiffany Soper, founder of Nine Point Agency which specializes in cannabis public relations (PR), told Daily Hive over the phone.

“PR is one area where they are not restricted. Media and the free press is an amazing thing.”

Soper has almost 20 years of experience in media and PR, and after hosting a cannabis-infused dinner with the Herbal Chef this past April, she saw an opportunity to branch out into the budding market.

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“My previous experience is in business and lifestyle verticals,” said Soper. “I did some research and realized how specialized PR for cannabis would be given the different restrictions and limitations on marketing.”

“Cannabis news is dominating mainstream media not only in Canada, but internationally.”

Soper is leveraging the media’s quest for story ideas by pitching unique angles about the brands she works with in order to create editorial buzz.

“I believe that cannabis companies are realizing this is a great opportunity to get awareness for their brand and to reach companies and potential investors by telling their story through the media,” said Soper.

Corey Herscu, CEO of RNMKR which also focuses on cannabis PR, sees the media as an opportunity to bring exposure to his clients while also shifting the public’s perception of the plant.

“Consuming cannabis is not something to feel ashamed about,” Herscu told Daily Hive via phone.

“People have been told that they are degenerates if they smoke weed. Part of our PR initiative is to re-educate.”

Herscu notes his personal use of cannabis as a motivator for entering the industry.

“Cannabis saved my life and I knew it could save somebody else’s. Through RNMKR, we have the ability to tell stories that drop the stigma of stoner culture.”

When it comes to showcasing the companies he works with, Herscu notes that it’s important for brands to find their niche.

“A lot of cannabis companies are trying to be everything to everybody. That’s not longevity. Find your X factor and be confident about it.”

RNMKR recently added in-house creative design and content development to their suite of services to facilitate storytelling opportunities for their clients.

“We’re story-driven,” said Herscu, who identifies the media as an ally in helping elevate the cannabis conversation while promoting brands that he supports.

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