Brand Management

This event is over.

John Paquin,
Director of the Brand Management Committee, ANA


I. We Came to Play: Successfully Tapping into Gaming Culture (11:35AM – 12:15PM)
Gaming isn’t a niche subculture anymore. It is culture. With the metaverse expanding exponentially every day, cannibalizing everything from music to fashion in the process, gaming will only get more important. If you want to tap into this growing audience’s passion, meet them on their level.

We’ll share with you how Madwell and Verizon worked together to meaningfully connect with gamers. We’ll explain our research methods, lessons learned and mistakes made, and even some cheat codes to help get your brand to the top of the leaderboard. Gamers take risks daily and expect brands to do the same (especially those not endemic to their space). Don’t show up like Brand Dad. Get the tools to be gamers’ trusted Player 2.

Will Langenberg, Sr. Marketing Manager – Verizon
Chris Sojka, Co-Founder & CCO – Madwell

II. Changing Perception - Tapping into Entertainment Marketing to Navigate Cannabis Censorship (12:15PM – 12:55PM)

Although legalized in a handful of states, cannabis is fighting an uphill battle to shift consumer perception away from outdated stigmas. Earlier this year, Weedmaps highlighted how cannabis was censored at the Super Bowl by shining a light on the misconceptions surrounding the flower. The brand has also tapped into entertainment marketing to get creative (literally) with the audience it’s trying to reach and how it reaches them. This year they’ve launched Tumbleweeds with Killer Mike with VICE to educate, engage and entertain audiences about cannabis. This session will be a discussion around breaking down barriers and shifting cultural perceptions in one of the fastest growing industries around.
Rebecca Larzik,
Director of Brand Marketing – Weedmaps
Patrick Schmidt, Managing Director – Wheelhouse Labs


Speaker Bios


Chris Sojka, Co-Founder & CCO – Madwell
Sojka is the co-founder & CCO of independent creative agency, Madwell. Sojka and his co-founder David Eisenman set themselves apart from traditional agencies, literally: they built Madwell's headquarters far from Madison Avenue in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, used no funding or outside investment, and did it without any agency pedigree. Over its 10+ year history, Sojka has transformed Madwell from a lean start-up to an award-winning global agency, with 150+ employees across offices in Hong Kong, Denver and Brooklyn and three newly launched sub-subsidiaries under their Sibling umbrella to further their vertically integrated ambitions - all while strictly maintaining their independence.

Rebecca Larzik, Director of Brand Marketing – Weedmaps

With nearly 20 years experience in Marketing, Rebecca has worked across global brands including Chanel, Clinique, O’Neill clothing, and GoPro. Prior to joining Weedmaps in 2017, Rebecca was the executive producer of Global Marketing at GoPro, where she oversaw the content that was used to market both GoPro’s hardware and software products all over the world. The freedom-fighting aspect of the cannabis community combined with Weedmaps’ mission to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy was what attracted Rebecca to the role at Weedmaps back in 2017.


Rebecca oversees all aspects of brand marketing strategy and under her direction, Weedmaps has become one of the first companies in the space to have an entertainment marketing AOR (Wheelhouse Labs), has entered into a multi-year partnership with Kevin Durant and his company, ThirtyFive Ventures, and continues to find innovative ways to educate consumers so that an increasing number of people can understand and experience cannabis in new ways. Some of the work Rebecca has led while at Weedmaps has been recognized by entities including the Clio Cannabis Awards and AdCann.

Patrick Schmidt, Managing Director – Wheelhouse Labs
Patrick Schmidt oversees day-to-day operations of Wheelhouse Labs. He is a passionate and results driven marketer who has operated in the heart of culture marketing for over 18 years. Patrick has extensive experience building client relationships, agency infrastructure, and developing creative concepts to help global companies execute ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns. Throughout his career he’s worked with brands like Converse, Diageo and Major League Soccer to create credible and sustainable roles in culture that solve business challenges.