Liquid Agency is excited to be designing the brand identity for a new cannabis line by US Tobacco Industries, set to launch on April 20, 2016. With the legalization of marijuana in 23 states and the District of Columbia, the world’s largest tobacco company and producer of legendary cigarette brand, Kenterfield, has recognized the opportunity to enter a category with huge potential—and asked us to help them design and launch the new brand.
An exhaustive search leads to Liquid Agency.
SCOTT GARDNER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF LIQUID AGENCY WITH JOSEPH STONER, III, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF US TOBACCO INDUSTRIES
US Tobacco Industries wanted to tap a branding agency that could deliver sound strategic thinking as well as award-winning design. They were looking for an agency that would bring a comprehensive brand experience approach to the work and is comfortable with challenging the status quo. After an extensive review of agencies across the country, the company decided to work with Liquid—regardless of our lack of experience in the tobacco category. “Management was very interested in our Silicon Valley Thinking approach and our focus on innovation. We could not be more excited about this assignment and the trust that US Tobacco Industries is placing on our process and our teams,” said Scott Gardner, President and CEO at Liquid Agency.
Putting Silicon Valley Thinking to work.
A SERIES OF COLLABORATIVE WORKSHOPS FOCUSING ON MARKET TRENDS HELPED US IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIFFERENTIATION.
In line with our Silicon Valley Thinking approach, after reviewing existing research and conducting our own extensive qualitative research and product testing, we facilitated workshops where we quickly uncovered the key insights that would inform the brand strategy. This background information combined with our team’s personal experience in the category helped us develop a set of strategic hypotheses which we used to prototype how the brand could manifest itself through design. “We believe that the best work comes from a combination of research, experience, and instinct,” said Alfredo Muccino, Chief Creative Officer at Liquid Agency, “and building prototypes enables us and our clients to visualize the strategy, better evaluate its potential, and quickly make adjustments.”
No. 420: A brand with many facets.
Research indicated that the greatest opportunity for success lies in developing a sophisticated association with cannabis—especially as because US Tobacco Industries wants to appeal to the high end segment of the market—high income people who currently smoke illegal “pot”—but who will be purchasing the legal products as soon as they are available. We suggested naming the brand No. 420—a name inspired by classic brands like Chanel No. 5 or Porsche 911—yet with a deeper meaning for those familiar with the cannabis culture. Working collaboratively with expert teams at US Tobacco Industries, we developed a brand identity that is deliberately simple yet sophisticated.
Exploring potential for brand extensions.
Beside the brand identity and packaging for the core product, we also imagined a variety of brand extensions—including No. 420 Cannabis Brownies. US Tobacco Industries is currently developing a series of other food products, such as gummy candies, cookies, and even ice cream. We also developed No. 420 Buddy, an accessory line of glass pipes, rolling papers, and ashtrays. And, in order to create traction and visibility with a younger, fashion-conscious demographic we also extended the brand to apparel and fashion accessories.
Vote for your favorite design by clicking on the link below!
Wanting to embrace a Silicon Valley approach Liquid proposed the idea of crowd-sourcing the design decisions. Joseph Stoner, III, President and CEO of US Tobacco Industries immediately got on board with the idea. “We’re excited about the options Liquid has created,” said Stoner, “And now we’d like to let people help us design the brand.” Voting takes place on Liquid’s Facebook page. We’ve rendered Direction 1 across a few of the items that will eventually be produced (because that’s the one we prefer), but we would love to see which direction you like best. The direction with the highest score by midnight, April 20, will be used for the No. 420 launch. Don’t miss your chance to help shape this amazing brand. We’d love to also hear what you think, so please feel free to comment on this blog—AND HELP US SPREAD THE WORD through social media!
NOTE: We are looking forward to seeing which design wins, in the meanwhile we hope you are enjoying April 1.