Creative Collaboration: Keller Williams and O.penVAPE

Keller Williams

Strategic partnerships and sponsorships are vital for a company to increase brand awareness. Understanding this necessity, several hip-hop artists have taken advantage of opportunities to work with the legal marijuana industry. Wiz Khalifa partnered with RAW rolling papers on custom smoking accessories and B-Real partnered with MassRoots for his 2014 fall tour.

The hip-hop entertainment industry offers fertile ground for legal marijuana companies to cultivate strategic relationships, but it is not the only genre that complements the legal marijuana industry. O.penVAPE, a manufacturer of compact vaporizing devices, is sponsoring an eight-city tour with Keller Williams and The Motet, which should remind marketers that the jam band scene is just as fertile for developing brand loyalty.


Every Concert Counts

Jam bands are characterized by their style of performing extended tracks during live shows. The movement owes its development to The Grateful Dead, a band that became known for its live performances, accompanied by extended versions of “Dark Star,” “Playing in the Band” and “Scarlet Begonias,” which barely scratches the surface of the band’s live catalog.

Fans of jam bands are some of the most devoted. They tout the number of shows they have seen each tour. They remember the specific date and location of the last time their favorite song was played and how it compared to previous versions. They continuously invest in concert tickets, live recordings and tour merchandise, as well as the counter-culture lifestyle that happily incorporates marijuana.

Why are these fans so loyal? Some might argue it’s because they have nothing better to do than hawk their wares in concert parking lots and party like it’s 1969, but others understand it’s because jam bands deliver an original concert experience every time. As John Bell, front man for Widespread Panic, told the Journal Sentinel, “You won’t hear the same song twice.”


Keller Kills It

While most associate Phish and Widespread Panic with the contemporary jam band scene, Keller Williams has been a successful “one-man jam band” since his debut album “Freek” was released in 1994. Williams is known for using his guitar and looping station to build a full-band experience at his concerts. If you have never seen Williams perform, it is like watching a mad scientist make music in front of a live audience. His level of craftsmanship is astounding.

With 16 albums to his name and his unique live style, Williams has developed a devoted following and garnered the respect of fellow musicians. Williams has performed with artists such as The String Cheese Incident, Bob Weir and Del McCoury.

The Motet is joining Williams on the o.PenVAPE tour, running from Jan. 29-Feb. 7, 2015. The Motet, a seven-piece group, will be playing late-night sets that have been known to prompt infectious dance parties.


Marketing Marijuana with Music

Between his dedication to music and his commitment to the concert experience, Williams is able to build a relationship with his audience. Harnessing that energy, o.PenVAPE’s partnership with Williams and The Motet is an impressive move that bodes well for the company.

Axie Blundon, O.penVAPE’s marketing coordinator, told CelebStoner, “We wanted to seize the opportunity to form one of the first cannabis-music industry partnerships of its kind by getting behind Keller Williams and The Motet for a West Coast tour. These two bands are immensely popular from Colorado to California, as is the O.penVAPE brand in the cannabis industry. So the pairing seemed natural.”

O.penVAPE promoted the tour with two short videos featuring Williams. The first video featured Williams announcing the O.penVAPE tour and the second video featured Williams performing “Doobie in My Pocket.” O.penVAPE continued coverage on its Twitter account. Publicity also included a ticket giveaway on JamBase, which exposed O.penVAPE to a network of dedicated concertgoers.

O.penVAPE’s partnership with Keller Williams demonstrates that the marijuana industry may be well served by collaborating with the jam band scene and its devoted fan base.

Caroline Cahill was the Managing Editor of MJINews from June 2014 through February 2018. She earned her BA in Communications from College of Charleston and her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. You can follow her on Twitter @CtheresaC.

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