Creative in association withGear Seven

Innovative Cannabis Brand 'Freedom Grams' Empowers Consumers to Liberate Cannabis Prisoners

Advertising Agency
Munich, Germany
Serviceplan, AROYA, GABY Inc. and Last Prisoner Project launch new campaign

On 20 April, international day for cannabis, AROYA, GABY Inc., and Last Prisoner Project launched Freedom Grams, an innovative cannabis brand that comes in packages of 0.3, 3.5, 8.7, 18.0, and 23.5-grams — the exact amounts of cannabis for which others in the U.S. are currently incarcerated.

With creative concept and communication developed by Serviceplan Group for longstanding client AROYA, Freedom Grams was made available through retail and distribution partner GABY Inc., with all proceeds going to Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting for the release of cannabis prisoners through legal and legislative intervention.

“What sets Freedom Grams apart from other initiatives is that we are creating a connection between consumers and cannabis prisoners. The public needs to realize that it’s people like you and me, serving sometimes up to life, for amounts that you can legally buy today. By offering exactly these amounts, we are creating awareness and turning it into action at the same time,” says Christian Hertel, VP, Marketing, AROYA. 

Each pack features someone imprisoned for the exact weight of cannabis inside the package, like Kevin O’Brien Allen who was sentenced to life-without-parole in 2014 for the possession of about 3.5g of cannabis. From the packaging, these stories then unfold through AR filters, as well as on the Freedom Grams website. Beyond learning more about the whole matter, visitors from states that allow delivery can directly buy the Freedom Grams packs online. The website also provides other ways to act through petitions, resources to contact regional politicians, and information about local action groups.

From the packaging to the website, Freedom Grams features elaborate design and high-end craft. The design system is based on prison bars from which generative typography literally breaks free, symbolizing the project’s theme of liberation. The labels are relief-printed and come with a custom branded matchbook. From lighters and rolling paper to stickers, hangtags, and a 3D printable grinder, a wide range of branded collateral was created for retail and influencer mailings.

“Through Freedom Grams we are raising public awareness of the harsh reality of cannabis-related incarceration and hope to empower our supporters to join our fight to secure the full freedom of the communities we serve,” said Stephen Post, campaign strategist, Last Prisoner Project.

“Cannabis has been historically demonized, and people were punished for all the wrong reasons,” added William Kanistras, director of product operations at GABY Inc. “The legal system needs to recognize that the people who were imprisoned deserve to be free too.”

At the heart of the project sits its innovative distribution strategy. Freedom Grams is an open-source brand. This means that the community can submit more cases to feature on the packs and other industry participants — growers, retailers, brands, or individuals — can join by creating Freedom Grams labels for their own product with the online label generator.

Freedom Grams is available for purchase online and in store through California-based dispensary Mankind, with expansion to more locations and other states planned for later this year. Just weeks after launch, Freedom Grams has already gained massive public support and media attention, as well as several new partners. Beside founding partners AROYA and GABY Inc, the initiative is already supported by Dewey Cannabis Co. and Ball Family.

“Cannabis is now a legal and billion-dollar industry,” said Chris Ball, former legacy operator and CEO of Ball Family Farms. “It’s only right that we let people like me, who have cannabis convictions out of prison. Allow them to participate in this space. Let them bring the expertise that got them locked up into a legal framework.”

“The continued criminalisation only hampers progress and innovation in the cannabis industry,” concluded Christian Hertel, VP, Marketing, AROYA. “With Freedom Grams, we are bringing together the industry and cannabis consumers to solve this, by allowing them to use their own freedom to free others.”

Freedom Grams is an initiative by AROYA in partnership with Last Prisoner Project and GABY Inc., idea and execution by Serviceplan Group, together with design studio Moby Digg, type designer Michael Clasen, and creative coder Daniel Kuhnlein.

Alexander Schill, Global CCO, Serviceplan Group says: “Cannabis in the U.S.A. has evolved into a billion-dollar industry, but still carries the heavy burden from decades of criminalization. As an advertising agency, we saw the business potential and what stands in its way. As communication experts, we found an innovative solution that empowers the industry and consumers to bring about change.  And as humans, we’re happy to do our part in giving back freedom to those who are unjustly incarcerated.”  

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