Even though marijuana—and especially medical marijuana—is quickly moving into the mainstream, it’s apparently not mainstream enough for Super Bowl advertising. This week, CBS reportedly rejected an ad proposed by a big-name marijuana company. Interestingly, it wasn’t even an ad for a specific brand. Rather, the ad was planned to serve as a political advocacy spot calling for the legalization of medical cannabis.
Acreage Holdings’ Planned Ad Shot Down by CBS
Acreage Holdings reportedly has massive operations in both the United States and Canada. In fact, the company has a presence in at least 15 U.S. states. Additionally, it went public last year in Canada. Currently, the company is valued at roughly $2.4 billion.
As part of its ongoing growth, the company apparently wanted to run a high profile ad during the Super Bowl. According to sources, the company may have gone so far as to actually produce the entire ad.
But unfortunately for Acreage Holdings, the proposed advertisement only made it as far as being pitched to CBS, the network that will broadcast the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 2.
As explained by Acreage Holdings President George Allen, the objective of the ad was to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue” surrounding medical marijuana legislation.
Further, Allen said the company was keen to get the ad on the Super Bowl in particular. The company wanted to snag a Super Bowl spot because, as Allen said, “it’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl.”
However, the company’s hopes will not come to pass. At least not this year. After company representatives showed a rough outline of the ad to CBS, the media company shot it down and refused to air it. As a result, Acreage will not be able to run its ad during this year’s Super Bowl.
Advertising a Cause, Not a Brand
Interestingly, Acreage’s planned advertisement was reportedly not going to focus on the brand. Instead, it was going to be more of a PSA-style spot. Specifically, it was going to advocate more generally for the legalization of medical marijuana.
As such, the planned ad was going to depict the stories of at least two medical marijuana patients. One was the story of a child with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that medical marijuana can be very effective at treating.
Additionally, the ad was reportedly going to show the story of a war veteran suffering ongoing negative effects from injuries. In particular, this story was planned to focus on the vet’s use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and other health conditions.
Although the ad was not going to focus specifically on the Acreage brand, the company was still prepared to pay the hefty price tag of a Super Bowl ad. According to Bloomberg, a 30-second advertising spot at last year’s Super Bowl cost around $5 million.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in at least 30 states in the U.S. Additionally, both medical and recreational cannabis are now legal nationwide in Canada.