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8000Kicks Publicity Stunt Raises Hemp Awareness in Berlin

8000Kicks Publicity Stunt
WEEDO sneakers. Photos courtesy of 8000Kicks


8000Kicks Publicity Stunt Raises Hemp Awareness in Berlin

In an exclusive, CEO Bernardo Carreira describes how he almost landed in jail—and why it was all well worth it.

For a few chaotic days this week, the city of Berlin found itself utterly inundated with the gift of hemp. Was it divine intervention? Not quite. Instead, it was the result of a clever publicity stunt orchestrated by the CEO and co-founder of hemp footwear brand 8000Kicks, Bernardo Carreira.

Carreira and 8000Kicks are currently promoting their newest product: WEEDO. The limited-edition shoes are made from premium ground hemp flower—500g per shoe, to be exact. The company collaborated with Royal Queen Seeds and Nisiseltor Studio to create 100 pairs of the unique footwear. Billed by the brand as the world’s first cannabis-infused sneakers, it’s perhaps not a huge shock that a company willing to develop such a unique concept would also choose to embark on an equally daring publicity campaign.

8000Kicks Weedo sneakers

Five months in the making, the ploy found Carreria and his team dashing across Berlin while the city slept. Their goal? Adding a touch of extra green at the entrances to popular train stations, churches, universities, hospitals and more in the form of 500 industrial hemp plants.

While industrial hemp is perfectly legal to grow and possess in Germany, it’s also admittedly easy to confuse the plant with its still-illicit, THC-bearing cousin. That helps to explain the flurry of folks who, upon finding these plants, opted to take them back home with them. It also sheds light on why Carreira found himself waking up to a knock on his door from local law enforcement one morning this week.

“That was when things became less fun,” he said [laughs].

Speaking with Cannabis Now exclusively, Carreira emphasized that his brush with the police was but an unpleasant coda to an otherwise highly successful activation.

“It was very worth it,” Carreira says. “Berlin is our main city in Europe. It’s a super competitive city. There’s a lot going on and it has a massive youth culture and vibe, so we knew we’d need something crazy and wild to get everyone’s attention.”

For Portuguese-American company 8000Kicks, the way to really make a statement was to “fill Berlin up with weed,” per Carreira.

To execute this vision, the company placed a bulk order of vases and reserved a sizeable chunk of a hemp field near to Berlin. A lack of rain delayed the initial timeline for the campaign, so to expedite the project, four artificial stand-in plants were incorporated as well. The resulting footage filmed by 8000Kicks shows team members dropping plants across the city, including at area newspaper offices as well as at TV and radio stations.

“We received a lot of encouragement and enthusiasm,” Carreira said. “People were going crazy taking pictures of these plants everywhere in Berlin.”

Though he was forced to take a trip down to the police station, Carreira shared that he ultimately faced no legal troubles. Instead, he sees the verdict he received as he stood before a judge later that day as generously lenient, if unmistakable in its tenor.

“The judge said, ‘Your campaign is over. Get your plants off the streets and get the fuck out of Germany!’”

Carreira confirmed that he intends to heed that advice right away—though it certainly won’t be with his tail between his legs.

“Yes, I’m ready to come home,” he said. “But I’m also very proud of what we accomplished. The weed revolution is already happening in Germany, so we’re perhaps just a bit early, but the response we saw shows that they are ready and eager for more.”

“The incident involving our friend Bernardo and 8000Kicks is but another high-profile example of how urgent and necessary the destigmatization of cannabis remains globally,” says Shai Ramsahai, Royal Queen Seeds CEO. “We couldn’t be prouder to be partners with 8000Kicks and join them in taking this fight on together. Yes, of course there remains any number of serious challenges around the world in both the cannabis industry and beyond. Celebrating the plant and eradicating the persistent misinformation and stigma attached to its enjoyment is among the easiest and most important achievable goals.”

In the interim, Berliners will now know precisely which hemp sneakers to seek out when it comes to showing their weed team spirit.

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