Embarc Cannabis Embraces Halloween With Devil's Lettuce
They launched a new brand, Devil's Lettuce, on Friday the 13th. Its marketing campaign equates the stigma of cannabis consumption with monsters and villains from Hollywood horror flicks, assuring viewers that legal weed shouldn't cause a fright.
A stretch? Perhaps. Still, the work's well-timed, boasts a Spotify playlist and could scare up some buzz as spooky season rolls on.
Below, Embarc CBO/CMO Courtney Zalewski, who led creative development, takes us inside the campaign:
MUSE: Who exactly is the audience here?
Courtney Zalewski: At first, the audience was our internal team and folks within the industry—people that get the ill-informed reefer madness that still exists and appreciate the juxtaposition of that intensity. But ultimately, what started as a rallying cry quickly evolved into something bigger.
It's certainly a novel approach.
For those still requiring education, we want an eye-catching campaign that draws the viewer in, allowing us to engage. This dialogue is dynamic, fostering discussion and challenging perceptions. The truth is, while cannabis is increasingly legal, fear and misconceptions still run rampant. While cannabis is certainly more accepted than it has been historically, our industry still faces an uphill battle. We are all working to dispel these dated myths.
Can a cute campaign really have that kind of impact?
We used humor, nostalgia and the spooky season to kickstart an ongoing conversation. Our brand will champion positive benefits and real people's stories. The playful marketing isn't what will change the minds of skeptics. It's the stories from our community and seeing how cannabis has positively impacted lives that may prompt skeptics to reconsider.
How'd you source footage for the video?
The idea was to find as many dramatic, absurd, over-the-top and unusual clips that would bring the narration to life. Some of these include actual news footage, anti-drug/cannabis campaigns, the classic Reefer Madness film (1936) and even a few short clips from obscure films like 1928's The Man Who Laughs. (Fun fact: the main character in that film was the inspiration for the Joker).
Why link cannabis to Halloween? Why does this make sense?
Halloween is all about spooky tales and the perfect backdrop to revisit and explore the longstanding myths surrounding cannabis. If you watch Reefer Madness and look back at propaganda from that time, it feels like a campy horror movie. You can almost picture an 8-foot-tall person covered in cannabis plants walking toward you like Frankenstein's monster.