The theatrical trailer for 'The Hero' teases the tale of a fading Western icon (Sam Elliott) and his relationships with a former co-star (Nick Offerman), a standup comic (Laura Prepon) and his daughter (Krysten Ritter.)
The trailer that appears in nearly 200 California cannabis dispensaries shows a different side of the story – a considerably more cannabis-friendly one.
This was the work of David Wilfert, founder of creative agency TWBE. When Wilfert was approached by The Hero’s distributors to help market the film to cannabis consumers, he first thought to create a new trailer that highlighted the film’s best cannabis moments – of which there are many.
“There are a lot of moments in the film where the two leads – Sam Elliott and Nick Offerman – are sitting around, hanging out and smoking pot; in the original trailer, none of this was evident at all,” Wilfert told Civilized.
“The filmmakers had all this material, including these great sound-bites of Sam saying ‘Platinum Cookies’ in his fantastic voice, and they wanted to find a way to reach another audience besides the one they were skewing towards, which was an older and more conservative crowd.
“When we re-cut the trailer, we really played up the relationship between the two guys and their stoner tendencies. We weren’t afraid to show them smoking pot and just taking life in.”
Of course, what’s the sense in cutting a new cannabis-heavy trailer if you’ve got nowhere to screen it? Enter APOP Media, whose network of televisions in dispensary waiting rooms, head shops and doctors offices offered the perfect platform for the custom trailer.
The result – a 60-second trailer that plays in 182 dispensaries across southern California – marks the first time a film distributor has displayed ads in cannabis dispensaries.
“[APOP Media provided] this absolutely amazing platform to get the exact message we wanted across to the exact consumer we were trying to reach,” said Wilfert. “A lot of the time, people sitting in a waiting room are really just trying to focus on something, whether it’s a magazine on the table or a television displaying content, so we have them right there.
“They’re in the dispensary to get their medicine and buy their products, and we’re in there showing them something they can [do] after their visit.”
Cannabis consumers deserve to be catered to in this manner, said Wilfert. As the legalization movement marches on, he hopes more businesses realize the value in marketing to this growing (and increasingly diverse) demographic.
“So far, I think we’ve gotten the attention of the cannabis consumer and we’ve also shown businesses and other thought leaders that we are making an effort, that we see there’s an untapped market that deserves some recognition,” he said.
“I definitely hope more businesses realize the potential of the cannabis consumer, because [the demographic] is so vast, but so niche.”
For his part, Wilfert gets approached (or “gets lucky”, as he puts it) for a cannabis-related project about once a year. Past marketing initiatives have included working with a grower to develop a pair of cannabis strains for the release of Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’, as well as a promotion for the film ‘Swiss Army Man’ that involved branded collapsible bongs.
“For me, marijuana is my passion and I also love movies; they’ve always gone hand-in-hand, but nobody has ever really connected the dots in a serious way,” said Wilfert. “I understand the pot consumer and I understand what movie businesses want, so I just try to find really fresh ways for them to connect.”
The re-cut trailers for ‘The Hero’ will run in dispensaries until July 4. The film itself is gradually being rolled out nationwide.