Kolab Project Case Study from Varyer | Varyer

Kolab Project

Infinite Senses Are Upon Us
2022
Premise

We’re building a world where the Kolab Project brand and its products will take center stage in an engaging narrative that unfolds over time—and brings in the creative community to participate in telling the story.

Partner
Kolab Project – Toronto

Illustration by Anuj Shrestha.

To tell the story of a brand is table stakes: authenticity, transparency, we know the drill. But to tell the tale of a brand’s promise by way of modern parable is to eschew reality. The reality of the market, the consumer, the KPIs . . . what if instead we focused our stories on the spirit? On the fantastical possibilities of just how far-reaching the imagination of a brand can go?

On its face, Kolab Project is a consumer cannabis brand specializing in a refined collection of concentrates. But its ethos is grounded in connecting consumers to experiences created with carefully selected collaborators working globally in arts and culture. To realize the brand promise of Kolab Project that encourages transformative collaboration, we’ve begun building not just a new platform, but an entire ecosystem: Diamond City.

Illustration by Jinhwa Jang.

Diamond City exists at the cutting edge of ancient technology. It’s a dystopian reflection of Kolab's reality, an alternate universe where Kolab’s brand and products can freely live and extend into new realms. Think Stranger Things' Upside Down if it was Tokusatsu and produced by a rebooted Heavy Metal magazine, or The Wizard of Oz in a Mad Max metaverse by way of a Vangelis-soundtracked Animewave Guide to the Bejeweled Galaxy.

This reanimated fever dream is the distorted reflection of the Kolab Project brand and its products. And because of some restrictions on cannabis communications in Canada, Diamond City can sometimes be everything Kolab Project wishes it was.

For instance: Diamonds, the premier Kolab Project concentrate, are represented by the fuel of this world, which is scarce these days. A corrupt ruling class has kept it from the people for means of profiteering and control. Caviar (another Kolab Project concentrate) is a similar resource, enjoyed only by the most privileged. The THC-232, a hovercraft vehicle used for transport in Diamond City, looks remarkably like the 232 Series concentrate pen. And it’s a vehicle the resistance uses in their efforts to take Diamond City back.

The story unfolds through the lens of multiple creators across various disciplines, and their vision for what comes next propels the story forward. Written, directed, and designed by Varyer—these shorts are just three non-sequiturs in the overarching narrative, all illustrated by different artists:

“By the Time I Get To Diamond City” was illustrated by Dylan Anderson.

“Caviar For All” was illustrated by Jinhwa Jang.

“Return To Analogue” was illustrated by Anuj Shrestha.

It’s not just a vibe 🔊

We’ve developed a unique sonic brand for Kolab Project and Diamond City using a complex sound design system to establish ambient tension and a glimmer of hope. While being able to score a short film, we’re also able to recall the feeling of Diamond City in one blip from an interaction or a short sweep in a clip. Our goal was to make the sound of the brand as recognizably evocative as the visuals.

(SOUND ON)

The language of Diamond City's Ancient Wise One was designed and built into a font called Diamonds Neue. We can't reveal the translation here, as it's currently being decoded by elite fans.

Trade sheets connect the Diamond City experience to Kolab Project product knowledge for budtenders.

Varyer has the ability to take a vision, run it through their filter, and serve it back as completely new—giving the initial strategy a real opportunity to develop into something far more meaningful than what was originally conceived. And I love them.

—Ian Rapsey, CCO, Auxly

The advertising in Diamond City is bleak and nihilistic SPAM gone mainstream, losing all sense of tact and restraint.

💰 in Premium ℃ A V I A ℞ 💰❓❔❓ 💰 in Premium ℃ A V I A ℞ 💰❓❔❓

💳 Check_your_account_$ 💾 💸 💳 Check_your_account_$ 💾 💸

More important than the narrative concept itself, this project exists to establish a platform for exploring a transgressive process that enables inspiring creative work to be made. This is not about just building a fictional world, it’s about building a tangible world that encompasses an amalgam of work from the best creatives working in their field.

We’re realizing the brand promise by establishing a visual and cultural ecosystem that develops an overarching concept and supports the product in an evolutionary way. In lieu of ephemeral and seasonal campaigns, we’re able to develop this brand vehicle over time, creating a universe that asks customers to follow along, play along, and ultimately pay attention to what unfolds—cementing brand loyalty.

The latest collaboration is with Dream Machine, which writes music and imagines visuals live as it broadcasts via AI, generating endless scenes and soundtracks within Diamond City's dystopian universe.

We created a fictional brand called Diamond City Security, a privatized firm owned by Mayor Revkil that watches over Diamond City like Big Brother. When users go to diamondcitysecurity.com, they're viewing one of the closed-circuit cameras embedded in the floating orange orbs all around the city.

The video above is an early test of the experience. Listen to discover how it takes the resources of our sonic brand and utilizes them to generate a new AI-built score for every user watching the livestream.

Diamond City is beaming with dystopian billboards, hundreds of which were painstakingly positioned all around the city for a dynamic and surprising experience. The language we created with the Diamonds Neue font is seen throughout, asking users to record and decode this runic alphabet for a chance to win prizes, including a drone we designed and skinned.

IRL projections are happening in spaces and on buildings all over Canada.

Toronto's Superfresh Night Market broadcasting the livestream.