Davor Krvavac is a creative leader with a long history of combining technology with storytelling to create culturally relevant brands and products.
As the Creative Director of cannabis technology company Airgraft since its inception, he has focused on leading the development of the Airgraft brand, communications and a series of digital products, including a platform. Inline membership form for the company’s revolutionary Airgraft 2 vaporizer and pod system.
Prior to his tech endeavors, Davor built a 20-year career that included roles at AKQA London and B-Reel, working with global icons such as Nike, Fenty, Converse, LVMH, Google and Gorillaz. At B-Reel, his work included the world-famous Gorillaz AR official app to launch the music album Humanz, which won a Grand Clio at the Clio Music Awards.
When not babysitting kittens and screaming on his screen at Airgraft, Davor is making obscure music, writing scripts, and falling from various wheeled contraptions.
We spoke with Davor for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis industry.
Davor, tell us …
Where you grew up and where you live now.
I am from Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is truly the cultural crossroads of the Balkans. I grew up immersed in the punk culture and surreal humor of the 1980s in Sarajevo, a cultural response to the norms and restrictions of communist Yugoslavia. From an early age, I knew I wanted to do something creative. After the war broke out in 1992, I found myself in London, where I have been based for 29 years. Today, I spend time between London and Montreal.
Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you are based.
In my role as Creative Director at Airgraft, I take care of our digital product experience and our brand across all touchpoints and all communications. The company is based in Montreal but most of our current activities are focused in California.
A story about the positive impact of cannabis on your life.
Along with my creative career, I have spent a good part of my life producing music. Cannabis has always been in the mix as a creative catalyst. There is something about being completely absorbed in the moment with heightened sensory experience that really channels creativity. I have always enjoyed this aspect. These days I see cannabis, especially in vapor form, as a great alternative to alcohol when looking to unwind after a long day.
A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.
There are so many fantastic growers and producers creating some amazing cannabis products in California right now. It seems almost impossible to reduce it to just one. But the varieties I liked the most on my last visit to California were Forbidden Fruit and Papaya. I’m a big fan of the tasty indicas with a citrus terpene vibe. These strains just have that gorgeous high tropical note that perfectly matches the filmic LA sunsets.
The biggest challenge facing cannabis marketers today.
Where do I start?!? First, cannabis is a relatively new emerging category, but one that uniquely comes with over a century of culture and history. And, of course, the ban rooted in racial prejudice at the start of the 20th century has done enormous damage at every level. That alone is a huge consideration in the cannabis space. The impact of regulation, not to mention lingering societal and cultural biases, makes it a very difficult space to market effectively.
In a marketing landscape so carefully controlled by big tech, companies operating in cannabis are at a huge disadvantage as we are excluded from major consumption platforms due to the regulatory schism. All the things that we as creators and marketers take for granted elsewhere are completely different when it comes to cannabis. These constraints challenge us to be more creative and I love that part. It’s a challenge like no other I have experienced in my 20 odd years.
Something you are passionate about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
The category as a whole is starting to grow. Many new entrants are pushing the standards upwards, both in terms of product quality but also in terms of brand and communication. What excites me the most is that I see more and more companies driven by goals, rooted in social responsibility, doing things very well on the brand side. We have been talking about “normalization” for a while. It’s exciting to see brands take a positive cultural stance after years of negative outlook and take a stand against stigma and stereotypes. We are on the threshold of mainstream adoption and the possibilities are mind-boggling.
A cannabis trade / social justice organization that you support.
Last Prisoner Project is doing important work. It is a tragedy and utterly unacceptable that while the industry is booming, non-violent cannabis-related offenders still languish in prisons.
A recent project that you are proud of.
Launching Airgraft 2 has been a huge labor of love for all of us at Airgraft. We have set the bar incredibly high for ourselves. Not only do we challenge established orthodoxies about how cannabis is bought and consumed, but we are also on a mission to move the entire category in the right direction through innovation and science. Did you know that most vaporizers generate a lot of smoke? The very thing they’re supposed to be dealing with. There is a safer, gentler, and simply better way to use and buy cannabis. This is what we strive to bring to the market.
Someone else’s project that you admired recently.
I really admire the cultural impact of Monogram. It helps to have leading contributors and creative collaborators but, where they could have gone the obvious and easy path, they chose to have a very clear and powerful point of view that denounces the hypocrisy of regulation. current while succeeding in celebrating the centrality of cannabis in culture.
Someone you admire in cannabis and who does great things.
Al Harrington, the founder of Viola, is someone I have a lot of time for. He is an important voice for social equity and diversity in cannabis. I like what he does on all levels.
What you would do if you weren’t in the cannabis industry.
I’m working on my first five-disc prog-rock odyssey.
Higher Calling is a weekly series, released on Thursdays, where we chat with people in the cannabis industry about their personal cannabis history and tastes and the future of cannabis marketing. To learn more about Higher Calling and our Clio Cannabis program, please contact us.