Cannabis Education Missing from Super Bowl Advertising — Here’s Why

It seems as though anyone can have a Super Bowl ad these days — unless, of course, if it has something to do with cannabis — even if you have the cash. We talk a lot about digital advertising in the …

It seems as though anyone can have a Super Bowl ad these days — unless, of course, if it has something to do with cannabis — even if you have the cash. We talk a lot about digital advertising in the (remote) office of Proper Trends but one thing we can’t quite wrap our heads around is the sheer cost of advertising in the Super Bowl. And we wonder if it’s worth it?

Reaching upwards of 100 million people yesterday, ads during the much-anticipated game (Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots) ran around $5 million. 

The CDC has no reported deaths from marijuana alone — since the beginning of time, basically. 

Late last month, Acreage Holdings announced their ad showcasing the benefits of medical marijuana for patients with epilepsy and chronic pain was rejected by CBS News. Despite states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana every five seconds it is still illegal federally, and both the NFL and CBS have strict advertising guidelines that prohibit advocating the stuff. 

Acreage Holdings’ CEO Kevin Murphy responded in a recent interview that he wasn’t surprised but he was definitely disappointed. “We chose to launch the campaign on the nation’s greatest stage — the Super Bowl,” said Murphy. “CBS’s decision to reject the campaign represents the exact issue we are tackling — that federal law translates to no access to the medicine or even education about it.”

“The time is now for sensible legislation.”

Once the news hit the interwebs a tweetstorm ensued, with many Twitter users asking why we continue to pour on ads promoting alcohol. Alcohol, by the way, is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. That’s about 88,000 people annually! By comparison, the CDC has no reported deaths from marijuana alone — since the beginning of time, basically. 

The ad, however, was shown during the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet but the question remains: should the NFL and CBS reassess their advertising rules? Experts agree one of the hardest parts about the cannabis industry is the ambiguity it operates in. If anything, Murphy said the rejected ad provides discourse around the importance of cannabis advocacy. “The time is now for sensible legislation,” he said.

In the meantime, cannabis advocacy and education can be promoted on the likes Instagram, which has 1 billion users — a much larger opportunity than the 100 million watching the Super Bowl. 

And cheaper.

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