lifestyle and sports marketing veteran Kent Thomas announced the launch of Receptor Brands, a new and highly specialized creative services agency focused on transforming the relationships between cannabis brands and their customers. Based in Chicago, IL, Receptor Brands offers end-to-end services for the cannabis industry, including business strategy and branding to product innovation and packaging design, and from marketing and digital campaigns to experience design, content creation, and SEO.
As Managing Partner, Thomas will co-lead the Chicago-based agency with partner Allison Disney, an executive leader most recently hailing from the BBDO network. Disney has produced award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for some of the world’s most iconic brands and serves on the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.
“The cannabis sector is evolving at an accelerated pace; brands need best-in-class creative partners who can not only keep up, but help them stay ahead of consumer trends and the competition,” said Disney. “With Receptor Brands, we saw an opportunity to redesign the traditional agency model to better suit the needs of modern, fast-moving cannabis businesses. Our model offers clients robust digital and social-led production services, high caliber talent, and the ability to innovate and experiment at speed.”
Added Thomas, “Today’s cannabis consumers are sophisticated, they’re savvy, and they’re seeking the same immersive, rewarding and connective experiences they’ve come to expect from the sports and lifestyle brands they love. Understanding how, when, and where people are most receptive is what we do.”
Receptor Brands launches with a roster of high-profile Midwest-based clients, including a leading multi-state-operator and retail chain with more than a dozen dispensaries across the US; one of Michigan’s largest outdoor cannabis cultivators and processors; and a fintech company enabling a safe and secure payment ecosystem for the cannabis industry.
Thomas and Disney have assembled an all-star team of highly credentialed agency principals across core disciplines with deep roots in Chicago, making Receptor Brands particularly well-situated to serve emerging leaders in legal adult-use and medical markets such as Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and other surrounding states:
Receptor Brands arrives on the scene following a breakout year for the U.S. cannabis industry. Legal sales across the U.S.—18 states have enacted legislation to allow adult use and 37 allow for medical sales—hit a record of $17.5 billion in 2020, a 46% increase from 2019, according to a new report from the cannabis sales platform BDSA. In addition to steady growth in mature adult-use markets like California, Colorado and Oregon, last year’s sales were bolstered by emerging markets like Receptor Brands’ home state of Illinois, which expanded its medical cannabis market to include adult-use sales last year and is now doing over $1 billion in sales.
“Our marketing approach is rooted in the belief that if you can fit meaningfully into people’s lives, you’ll find your way into their shopping carts,” said Disney. “We believe cannabis is here to stay, and that the brands we’re helping to build have a functional role to play in people’s emotional and physical wellness. We look forward to partnering with growth-minded clients who share our positive, future-forward vision for the category.”
For more information visit www.ReceptorBrands.com