A conversation on cannabis highlights O’Malley marketing lecture at Brock

One of Canada’s foremost experts in the marketing of cannabis says this country has missed the opportunity to set the international standard for how to handle legalization.

Peter Shier, President of Toronto firm Naked Creative Consultancy, has been involved in the cannabis industry for more than seven years and has led research into what Canadians want when it comes to legalization.

On Thursday, Nov. 22, Shier will deliver the 18th annual Terry O’Malley Lecture in Marketing and Advertising at Brock University, where he will examine Canada’s cannabis industry.

The annual Terry O’Malley Lecture, along with the Grant Dobson Case Competition held with students earlier in the day, is hosted by Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film. The lecture starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

Shier’s address, which he’s calling “Honey, they forgot the consumer — lessons from the early days of cannabis” will look at the executive’s work with a number of industry players on branding, marketing, partnerships, content development and communication strategy.

“I’ve been pretty frustrated watching what has happened with legalization and how the rules and laws came down,” he said. “In my view, they left out the consumer.”

Naked Creative commissioned a research project in 2017, where it surveyed more than 1,000 adult Canadians from coast to coast to get their perspective on the issue.

“We asked questions like ‘What are you afraid of?’ and ‘How would you want things to be done?’ and we ended up with some pretty interesting information,” said Shier, who has more than two decades of experience working with some of Canada’s largest communications agencies.

Shier plans to talk about the marketing and branding of legalized cannabis and what could be done to improve things. He also plans to propose a few ideas he believes the government should consider to firmly establish Canada as a world leader in cannabis legalization.

“Some of the recommendations are straightforward and some are more progressive,” Shier said. “Countries around the world are watching Canada to see how cannabis legalization unfolds, and we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase to the world how to do this right.”

This year’s Dobson competition will also focus on the cannabis industry, with students from a number of Brock Faculties being tasked with developing a communications plan for a fictitious startup recreational cannabis brand.

“I want them to think as though they’re working with me and we’re establishing a new cannabis company,” Shier said. “I’m hoping to see some innovative thinking and something that makes us go ‘wow, that’s an interesting idea.’”

Created by St. Catharines native and advertising icon Terry O’Malley, the O’Malley lecture honours his legacy as one of the most legendary creative talents in modern Canadian advertising. For the past 17 years, the lecture series has exposed Brock students to some of North America’s top marketing and business communicators.

Complimentary tickets to the event are still available for faculty, staff, students and the Niagara community through the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film website.


What: 18th annual Terry O’Malley Lecture in Marketing and Advertising

Who: Peter Shier, President of Naked Creative Consultancy

When: Thursday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, Brock University

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