LCBO unveiled logos and branding for the “Ontario Cannabis Store” this week, along with its inaugural Board of Directors.
As part of a national plan to legalize recreational cannabis during the summer of 2018, the provinces were tasked with organizing how they’d like to sell the product. For example, B.C. proposed a mix of public and private stores, while Alberta will be issuing licenses on a case-by-case basis to cannabis stores and dispensaries.
In Ontario, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario will manage and operate the distribution of cannabis in the province, and since announced that it would be opening up a sub-chain of stores where cannabis products can be purchased.
LCBO is Ontario’s provincial alcohol distributor as well as one of the largest purchasers of beverage alcohol in the world.
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Earlier this week, LCBO revealed that the chain will be called the “Ontario Cannabis Store,” and simultaneously released the store’s new brand logo.
The logo has received mixed reactions from industry insiders and social media users, who shared the branding announcement widely on Friday.
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“The name is designed to convey a safe, simple and approachable environment for consumers, and agency employees, in a clear and easily understood manner,” said the LBCO in a statement.
According to an LCBO statement, the estimated cost of the branding for the Ontario Cannabis Store is $650,000.
— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) March 9, 2018
However, a few outliers appreciated the simplicity of the design, citing a needed change of face for Canada’s illicit cannabis industry.
Oh no, design nerds are having a big tantrum about the Ontario Cannabis Store's logo. But really, could it be any worse than what we tolerate now? pic.twitter.com/DmdCadWZ0k
— Brent Richter (@BrentRichter) March 9, 2018
John Fowler, CEO and Founder of Supreme Cannabis, agrees with the second group, saying that the branding and logo provided by the LCBO is deliberately simplistic. He compares it to the LCBO’s own logo, and says that in five years Canadians may be referring to the “OCS” with the same brand recognition they currently have for the provincial liquor agency.
“I think this is a good example that creating a brand is a lot more than just the logo or the name. So if you look at the LCBO, which to anyone in Ontario has become a very strong brand, it conjures a certain consumer experience and I think a very high end one,” Fowler explained.
“I think a lot of people who are looking for a brand to be an exciting name and an exciting logo are underwhelmed by what the Ontario government provided, but I actually think that if the stores roll out with the same kind of quality and social responsibility strategy that you see with alcohol in Ontario, down the road we could be saying OCS and conjuring the same kind of images as when we say LCBO today,” he added.
Fowler said that the simplicity of the logo is important because it implies a different brand than the illicit cannabis market, which has mainly deferred to bright colours and poignant lettering in its marketing tactics.
In addition to the logo, the release also revealed the members of the board of directors for the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, and stated that Ottawa-based software company Shopify would be powering the in-store online sales channels for the Ontario Cannabis Store.
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