From High Times’ ranking of the best stoner cereals (cereal that even weed can’t make taste good: Raisin Bran), to a UK inventor’s Breakfast Bowl that let users eat cereal and get high at the same, not to mention Sugar Crisp’s super-groovy mascot Sugar Bear (seriously, look at those half-lidded eyes), there has long been a link between cereal and getting high.
Unless they’re O’Henry, brands generally tend to downplay any implied association between their product(s) and recreational drugs, but Post Cereals appears to be leaning into the bond with the opening of its “Shreddies Wheat Dispensary.”
The goal is to drive a little bit of buzz (ahem) for Shreddies in the crowded cereal category, said Post Consumer Brands Canada’s senior marketing manager Amy Bernstein.
The pop-up store is nestled in Toronto’s weed store-saturated Queen West area, where Google Maps lists six stores between Bathurst St. and Spadina Ave. alone.
Developed by Publicis, the store is an acknowledgement of the sheer number of weed shops that have popped up in Toronto in the four years since cannabis was legalized in 2018. Bloomberg reported last year that dispensaries are the city’s “favourite new retail tenant,” with just over 320 stores opening since January 2020, up from 13 before that.
“[The Wheat Dispensary] is playing off this cultural moment in Canada and Toronto, with the crazy number of dispensaries that have opened,” said Bernstein. “It’s been a running joke that every restaurant or store that closed was going to re-open as a dispensary. We wanted to bring Torontonians a different, unexpected kind of dispensary—something unlike anything they’ve experienced before.”
The “Wheat Dispensary,” which features a window sticker that reads “discover the original edible,” is designed to resemble a weed shop, with a simple, clean aesthetic, and four “strains” of Shreddies cereal—”You Got This” (the brand’s OG flavour); “Smiley Face” (Honey Shreddies); “Avant-Garde” (Shreddies Brown Sugar + Granola) and “That Good Good” (a hybrid of its original and honey flavours)—all housed in jars. Customers can request a free bowl of any of the four strains with their milk of choice.
The cereal brand is promoting the pop-up, which is open from June 9-12 and June 16-19, with out-of-home advertising including wild posting and digital/static TSAs, a media partnership with BlogTO, influencer engagement and paid/organic social content using the hashtag #ShreddiesWheatDispensary. The brand has also created a microsite at ShreddiesWheatDispensary.com which features a link to Spotify playlists representing the four strains.
Agency partners include Media.Monks for media; Spark Foundry for out-of-home; Craft Public Relations; and My Brother Darryl for the website.
Pop-up shops have become a growing part of the marketing arsenal in recent years, with Skittles, Oreos, Furious Fur and Dairy Dairy Farmers of Ontario just some of the brands that have experimented with the format. “As marketers we’re always looking at how do we truly get consumers to engage with our brand,” said Bernstein. “There’s a lot of one-way mass communication, but how do we go beyond. That’s where pop-ups and experiential marketing are really great opportunities.”