Andrew Lincoln on the Charlotte's Web Farm Art, Museum of Weed, and the Healing Power of CBD

Plus, the biggest threat to the CBD space today

Andrew Lincoln is associate director of integrated marketing at Charlotte's Web, one of the world's top CBD brands.

Since joining the company at the end of 2019, Andrew has led an integrated team of creative and production to build brand awareness through press, digital, retail, and shopper marketing. He helped launch Charlotte's Web's first national campaign, Trust the Earth, which included a 76-acre art installation, designed by Shepard Fairey and Studio Number One, that was carved into a Kansas wheat field. That effort won a Grand Clio at the 2020 Clio Cannabis Awards.

Prior to joining Charlotte's Web, Lincoln held a number of top creative roles at agencies including WorkInProgress, CPB and TBWA\Chiat\Day.

We spoke with Andrew for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.


Andrew, tell us...

Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you're based.

I am the associate director of integrated marketing at Charlotte's Web CBD, the market leader and pioneer, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

Your earliest cannabis memory.

I have a feeling most people's earliest memories are around the THC sector of the cannabis industry and how they got totes stoned under the bleachers. So to keep on brand of working with a CBD company, I'll jump in with my earliest memory of the hemp plant.

Besides having an incredibly stylish braided hemp rope necklace adorned with an alien head guitar pick in middle school, my earliest memory of CBD was actually very recent. In 2018, with the signing of the Farm Bill, CBD exploded onto the scene, as we probably all know. Which gave people, including myself, access to a more natural way of achieving a more balanced state of wellness.

For me, this couldn't come at a better time in my life—having left my cushy agency job, started my own business, bought a new house, and had our first child. My stress and anxiety levels were through the roof, on top of my usual life with ADHD and mental wellness baggage from life. I was looking for support, and for me, medication wasn't the ideal option. I wanted a natural way to help achieve balance in my life. And that's how I found out about CBD, which ultimately let me to Charlotte's Web.

A story about the positive impact CBD has had on your life.

It has helped me start to understand my own mental needs, awareness and the need for better balance. I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, after many years of forgetting to get tested, as well as denying it. I was finding ways to hide from it. But that acceptance opened up more ways for me to bring tools into my life, and one of those tools was cannabis.

A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.

This may sound like I am drinking the company Kool-Aid, which is very delicious by the way. But I really do love Charlotte's Web's products. To be fair, I was a customer first, and the fact I work here now is just testament to how much I do love the product. Which is why I want the whole world to hear about it and have access to the powers of hemp. I felt like I could bring this passion and my background to help fulfil the company's mission as much as possible, especially since it aligned with mine.

Other than Charlotte's Web, though, I am really loving a lot of the newer DTC/Instagram brands, like Prima, Recess and Camino Gummies. They have to approach creating brand awareness through more unique and niche customer connection and even create baked-in buzz (advertising) to their products or purpose. I respect the innovative and nimble ways of thinking in this space.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

The sheer amount of brands spreading misinformation and producing low-quality products for people. This brings the entire industry down, especially those brands in this industry for the right reasons, helping people or giving people the choice for alternative means to their wellness. Instead, there are way too many brands in this for the quick money. Marketers that are trying to get the word out about their products, and who have taken the right steps to create quality product, are finding their messages not getting through to people due to these fly-by-night brands ruining people's experience in the CBD space. It's sad, really. It's bringing the entire industry down. Until the FDA sets forth strict guidelines for the space, it'll be a constant uphill battle to win back customers who've been slighted by these fly-by-night brands. 

One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

With Covid making a lasting impact on people's lives, I have been impressed and excited how brands and people have adapted. I still feel these are great examples of what's exciting in this space: The Museum of Weed and the Netflix strain of weed based on show characters. The Museum of Weed is a great example of educating people through an engaging experience. I love being engaged rather than told. That's definitely a product of my ADHD. With the light at the end of the tunnel for Covid, hopefully, I do see a resurgence in experiences. And I see brand experiences being accepted with open arms.

A recent project you're proud of.

We recently created a 76+ acre mural mowed into a farm field in Kansas to help talk about Charlotte's Web's continued fight for access to hemp. I am proud of this piece for numerous reasons. One, proud that our company is willing to continue investing in activations that talk about our mission and try to change the world. I know sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow when we want to spend money on something like this for the greater good with marketing dollars. So I appreciate our executive team for trusting in me and our team. The second reason is that we did this all during Covid. Luckily it was outside and we were in "close" driving proximity. The fact that we pivoted from the original scale and location of this in such a quick timeline was impressive to me.

Someone else's project you admired recently.

For some reason, I am really loving the Progressive campaign about turning into your parents. I feel that the creatives know my in-laws. I laugh every time I see it. Maybe because I am the prime target and have over the last few years begun turning into my parents. I just really love the human insight they leaned into. It's not about hardcore selling insurance, they first connect with people. Even if I weren't in the target, I would feel more affinity to Progressive because they made this strong connection with one niche group. It's so counterintuitive to CPG marketing, but it works.

Other than that, I really admired the passion and dedication to the creation of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed. While not super new, I am craving getting out in the world freely, so this one has really been on my mind lately.

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

I support the Realm of Caring. They're an organization that helps educate the world and medical professionals through research they conduct to show the benefits of CBD and THC. It's also the organization that led me to Charlotte's Web.

A movie, TV show, music or food you most enjoy pairing with cannabis.

I take some form of CBD every night to help keep my thoughts at bay. I'm a light and terrible sleeper, so I need it. So before I take it, my wife and I are usually recovering from a toddler bedtime routine that started three hours before on the couch watching TV. My wife works in TV, so we're usually watching something related to that. A lot of times lately it's mindless reality shows to pair with the CBD. Makes everything nice and calm.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

If I end up leaving this job, it'll be because I found another great opportunity that is looking to disrupt this world or category. I just want to be part of making positive change and have fun while doing it.

Higher Calling is a weekly series, publishing on Thursdays, where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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