As we’ve seen in recent years, another company has had a Super Bowl ad rejected. This year, the rejected ad dealt with the legalization of medical marijuana, and Bloomberg reports that CBS rejected the ad only after seeing an outline of it, not even the final product.
Acreage Holdings, the company behind the ad, had plenty to say about the rejection.
The advertisement aimed to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Acreage President George Allen said. Super Bowl airtime would have been the best way to achieve this, he added.
“It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl,” Allen said in a telephone interview.
Per USA Today, CBS rejected the ad because “under CBS broadcast standards it does not currently accept cannabis-related advertising.”
According to Bloomberg, the rejected Acreage ad “features two subjects who have benefited from medicinal cannabis: a veteran with combat injuries and a child with seizures,” and that the company thought it had a “legitimate chance” of being approved and making it to the air during the Rams-Patriots tilt in 12 days.
This doesn’t see like a stunt, given that Acreage was willing to pay the $5 million or so for the ad and that medical marijuana is legal in more states than it isn’t at this point. Former US Speaker of the House John Boehner is on Acreage’s board, and the company’s market value is over $2 billion.
In recent years, it seems like a company gets a Super Bowl ad rejected, resulting in even more publicity for the company than had the ad actually aired. In 2017, GNC had a Super Bowl ad rejected and threatened to sue Fox. That same year, 84 Lumber’s ad was rejected for being “too political,” which seemed like their goal from the beginning. Acreage is just the latest company we can ad to that tally, but let’s be honest here – as long as the NFL is suspending players for having marijuana (in whatever form) in their system, one of the league’s TV partners isn’t going to allow an ad that advocates widespread legalization of medical marijuana to air during the biggest game of the year.