Branding for Blunts: How would Ad Agencies Brand Marijuana?

Proposition 19, the recent initiative to legalize marijuana for the masses in California may have failed, but that’s not stopping ad agencies, firms and potential future growers of the “cash crop” from thinking about how to brand pot should it ever make its way onto convenience store shelves.

Just what might a carton of joints look like? How magazine advertisements try to persuade you to buy one brand of pot over another? Newsweek recently asked two of New York’s most well-established ad agencies, Pentagram and Mother, to show their take on what pot branding might look like in the future. Package designs, billboards, print ads, even images of an iPad weed recipe app are all available for your viewing pleasure in a slide show on Newsweek’s site, presenting us with some interesting –and humorous – ideas on how pot products might be branded across various mediums.

Northern Lights, a pot brand developed by Pentagram, takes its name and design inspiration from the effects of a well-known, award-winning strain of marijuana. The brand’s mascot, Onehit the Wonder Moose and his smoky breath, representative of the Aurora Borealis (aka the Northern Lights) adorns packages billboards and magazine ads that focus on the lighter, more humorous side of marijuana use.

Mother shares a similar vein as Pentagram in its approach to pot branding, but with a very different look and feel to their designs. Mother’s Finest, is a pot brand composed of various blends similar to tobacco products by Marlboro or Camel, with each blend having its own unique appeal. With branding reminiscent of art and design of the 60s, psychedelic patterns and heavy serif fonts are used throughout environmental displays, packaging and signage. Color is also used as a signifier of the mood that each blend is best suited to.

“We imagined ‘Mother’s Finest’ to be the Marlboro of weed and established an occasion based marketing and packaging approach to give consumers the exact high they were looking for based on the activities of their particular day” (Mother New York).

Ecomagine Your Energy Use

Home Energy Use Calculator

This morning I woke up, made myself a pot of coffee and headed downstairs to get a start on the day ahead. A little later I found out that my laptop costs roughly half as much to operate annually as my coffee machine … funny.

Lisa Strausfeld, Pentagram partner and her team recently worked with GE to develop a Home Appliance Energy Use calculator. Launched on Earth Day, the calculator can be found at either GE’s Ecomagination or the Healthymagination website. Not only is beautifully simple in its design and easy to understand, the calculator is also very informative, giving detailed information on how much energy and resources dozens of common household appliances consume, as well as the cost associated with operating them.

A set of drop down menus allow viewers to obtain detailed information on each appliance’s energy use in watts, gallons of gas or dollars to operate over the timeframe of a day, month or year. Appliances are also ranked according to their energy needs. As operational costs for these appliances varies regionally, viewers can even select which state they would like to see the results for.

Blue stars next to various appliance icons indicate Energy Star alternatives while green stars invite the viewer to take a closer look at how quickly an Energy Star appliance would pay for itself when replacing an older appliance. Users can determine a rough daily, monthly or annual total cost in watts, gallons of gas or dollars for appliance use by deselecting appliances from the available list or view an estimated cost for a singular appliance by scrolling over individual icons.

Don’t forget to turn the lights off!

What Type Are You?

What Type Are You?

Visit 'What Type Are You?': a micro-site developed by Pentagram, and discover a typeface that reflects your personality.

Marina Script: emotional, understated, traditional, disciplined; “a 1936 version of a writing style that is centuries old. It is a typeface with delicately emotional swoops and serifs delivered with an aristocratic precision & restraint... apparently, it’s also my personality summed up in a typeface.

Typefaces, and the letters they depict, are a lot like people. They come in all shapes, sizes, weights and forms. Some quietly grace the page while others scream for attention. Some are so wildly popular and well-known that it’s difficult to imagine a world without them while others simply depict the times or a trend.

Pentagram, one of the world’s most respected design firms, has created a site that explores the question: What type are you? The site, narrated by a faceless, Freudian faceless analyst, asks you four personality questions, after which you’re presented with a typeface that reflects your personality most accurately according to your answers. You’ll not only learn a little about yourself, but even a little bit of history behind the typeface which represents you.

Follow this link to try it for yourself (use the password “Character” to enter the site).