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From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

This Is Cannabis.

Silver Honor in Business to Business


Based in Northern California—the birthplace of cannabis in the United States—NorCal Cannabis Company is a leader in the cannabis revolution. And as recreational cannabis becomes legalized through much of the U.S., people are shifting their perception from a stigmatized substance to cannabis as a valid consumer product. With our 2019 campaign, we sought to shift perception one step further—to view cannabis as not just an exciting consumer product, but as a maturing, profitable industry to invest in, with NorCal leading the way and defining the future of the industry. 

From seed-to-sale, NorCal’s business is complex, with a robust ecosystem in cultivation, production, distribution, retail, delivery with a family of consumer brands. In order to keep growing, we targeted both current and new investors as well as industry partners to invest in the most comprehensive, vertically-integrated cannabis company in California.

Strategy and Execution

While cannabis companies were fighting for attention—dodging or falling victim to the ever-changing regulation in cannabis advertising or trying desperately to establish their consumer brands, we pivoted.

We decided rather than market to millions of Californians, each with specific cannabis needs and tastes, we flipped it and sought to increase NorCal's awareness and profile in the industry. After all, no other company in the industry has the authentic heritage, OG status and the scale of NorCal. 

To successfully target potential investors, industry partners, and thought leaders, we went beyond flashy outdoor boards showcasing crystalized buds, colorful gummy bears, and Hollywood productions with messages about “normal.”

We sought to revolutionize the perception of the cannabis industry, and NorCal emphasized the importance of the business as a whole, instead of focusing solely on the product. We developed an integrated B2B campaign that used content marketing, paid media and PR alignment to firmly cement NorCal in the minds of the industry, considering investment leaders as pioneers in the space.  This audience would look squarely at the business and opportunity and be excited to invest — there’s “gold (and green) in them thar hills,” and cannabis is here to stay. 

We started our story as brand documentarians and began the creative process with extensive interviews with the NorCal founders, uncovering the company's legacy through the personal stories of the people running it. The cornerstone of the campaign and the first asset to go public was a heritage film. Driven by a bluesy soundtrack to evoke that feeling of “outlaw-gone-mainstream,” the piece uses a voiceover coupled with a series of vignettes that highlight the founders retreading their own steps through California’s cannabis history. 

To push the campaign further, we then launched a series of short and long-form videos, data-driven insights, infographics, social posts, digital ads, print, OOH, and experiential events, setting out on a targeted B2B creative and media strategy. To reach investors/high net-worth individuals, interested in investing in pre-IPO cannabis opportunities, we developed creative that borrowed from the B2B vernacular, and extended the reach into more traditional financial press, broadening awareness overall cannabis investment, and in turn, we established NorCal as the opportunity.

Finally, we created a whitepaper dispelling the Five Myths of the California Cannabis consumer, based on the first-ever California consumer market segmentation of its kind. We wanted investors and partners to walk away with more than an impression. We wanted them to be more informed.

With over 300 different creative assets, spanning six unique messages, we created an integrated marketing campaign never before seen in the cannabis space.


The press lit up around our campaign. CMO of NorCal Cannabis Company, Joel Lunenfeld, was asked to speak on The Street Financial Show, and the campaign was covered in financial press including the MM & M, Yahoo Finance, Cannabis Trades: Benzinga, Green Entrepreneur, and advertising press: Muse by Clio, The Egotist Network, and Best Ads on TV. 

Equally important as the press, site traffic, investor leads and most importantly, funds raised skyrocketed in the months after the campaign broke. 

30,000 visits to our website

10.3k downloads of Five Myths Whitepaper

15,000+ video views of Heritage Video

350 solid investor leads 

$15mm funds raised 


Video for This Is Cannabis.

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Brand: NorCal Cannabis || Lead Agency: Bonfire Labs || Media Agency: EVB


Entry Credits