Robot Food creates nostalgia-fuelled branding for Californian cannabis candy
In the world's largest legal cannabis market, how do you stand out from the crowd? The success of Goldmine Gummies, a new brand crafted with the help of Robot Food, points the way.
It's difficult for those of us in the UK, where both major parties are currently speaking out against drug use, to imagine. But over the pond in California, cannabis isn't just available for medical use; it's legal for recreational use too. And that provides new and exciting opportunities for agencies to help producers to get ahead of the competition with cut-through branding.
Leeds-based consultancy Robot Food has been doing just that, working with cannabis company Breez to launch a new candy product, Goldmine Gummies, in the US state.
And they've done a superb job moving away from outdated and unadventurous cannabis cues to create an identity packed with personality.
Initial research and brief
At the start of the process, Robot Food worked with the Goldmine team to analyse the category and take the new brand to the next level. It soon became clear that competitor brands often appeared dated and niche, and many weren't clear about the product's intended use or benefits.
The new designs, then, would stand a good chance of standing out in a crowded marketplace if they could effectively convey Breez's brand values (of a quality product that tastes good) without resorting to more traditional, staid luxury cues.
The design team were tasked with communicating each product's functional benefits with concise graphic and copy-based language and an optimistic tone of voice. Importantly, the designs needed broad appeal – playful and inclusive, but ultimately prioritising accessibility and clarity.
Going against the grain
The idea for Goldmine Gummies was controversial from the start, says Breez CEO Austin Hice. "It was born in the early days of the Government response to Covid, with everyone on lockdown, local businesses shuttering, and riots around our facilities," he explains. "And the attitude in California was that nobody needs another gummy."
But the company stuck to its guns. "In that chaos, we thought, 'Could we unlock that presence with a new product unlike anything done before, something so special that it breaks through the noise just by the joy it sparks for our fans?'" recalls Austin.
Consequently, Robot Food developed a colourful, illustration-heavy visual language packed with personality, with clear appeal to adults looking for good old-fashioned fun. It strongly taps into nostalgia to enhance the brand's appeal.
Packaging and illustrations
Goldmine's quality is amplified through its tin box packaging, which features a custom-engineered patented child-resistant lock, an embossed wordmark and gold edging detail that adds a subtle premium feel.
"As the tins are so lovely and tactile, they're something that people want to reuse," says Jess Cook, Robot Food client director. "They're cool things to have around, like collectables."
There are ten products in total in the Goldmine Gummies range. Five flavour variants each feature a targeted cannabis formula with different benefits such as sleep, pain relief and creative energy. These include Slumberjack Huckleberry Pie (with CBN for sleep) and Anti-Gravity Wild Strawberry (with Indica for relaxation).
The illustrations were created in-house at Robot Food by design director Chris Shuttleworth and serve to aid differentiation and standout, as well as provide navigation around each variant's flavour and product benefit. Individual elements from the imagery are also animated to use across digital platforms such as social media assets and the Goldmine Gummies website.
The designs are used across all product packaging, marketing, point-of-sale materials, shipping boxes, and merch, including stickers, enamel pin badges, t-shirts and more.
"Robot Food just got the idea, they were unafraid to take risks, and they worked hand in hand with us to navigate some tough creative and compliance challenges," says Austin. "The results speak for themselves: Goldmine Gummies is already in the top 20 gummies out of 250 in the state, and we expect to break into the top 10 this year. Robot Food is a huge part of Goldmine's success."
After launching in California, which is currently the world's largest legal cannabis market, Goldmine Gummies is set to expand nationwide and globally as soon as laws and regulations allow.