After one round of voting, NORML was the clubhouse leader in Intuit’s “Small Business Big Game” Super Bowl Commercial contest. The outpour of national media coverage and internal support from the marijuana community catapulted NORML, the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws, to the top spot in the contest.
All signs pointed towards NORML at least advancing to the Final Four–and perhaps winning the first ever national marijuana commercial in front of the nation’s largest televised audience on February 2 when the Broncos and Seahawks face off in the Super Bowl.
Then, Intuit held its second, “silent”, round, in which voters could not see which companies were in the lead. Likewise, Intuit today unveiled which 2o finalists advanced to the third round, and, mysteriously, NORML was missing from the mix and in its place is a commercial for something called POOP.
Yes, in the country’s most well-known and influential marijuana reform organization’s (whose small budget and staff met contest guidelines) stead are a mis-mash of local businesses ranging from a local bakery to start-up beef jerky companies to a dream about POOP. Really.
To top it off, Intuit–in a slimy gesture–has not even offered an explanation as to why NORML was eliminated from the contest. Now, it might be unfair and far-fetched to deduce that Intuit screwed NORML over, not wanting to be the company responsible for airing a marijuana commercial to kids. But is it possible Dairypoop.com based in Idaho legitimately gained more votes than NORML?
No–it’s flat-out inconceivable to think that a national organization with 500,000+ Facebook fans and with the support of both Weedmaps and Reddit’s vast marijuana communities couldn’t surpass a bunch of mom and pop shops in a user-voted contest.
Our friends at NORML are playing it cool (as us people are prone to do), acknowledging that they received a ton of press from simply entering the contest. But also: rightly suggesting that Intuit did not play a fair game:
“It is unfortunate that Intuit seems to be relying more on outdated political values instead of overwhelming public opinion when it comes to selecting which entries advanced in their contest,” noted NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “As demonstrated by the outpouring of support and positive media coverage for our entry, the country was ready and eager to see an ad for sensible marijuana law reforms during the most watched TV program of the year. This could’ve been a win for all groups involved, but instead Intuit will likely have only generated ill will for itself amongst the 58% of Americans who now support ending our country’s war on marijuana.”
Intuit shat the bed. They could have allowed NORML to advance to the Final Four, then quietly dismissed them in favor of a more “politically correct” candidate. This option would have both followed their contest’s guidelines, and given the marijuana community the positive will it deserves.
Instead, Intuit cast NORML aside like a stray dog, and consequentially have pissed off every stoner (all 58% of them) that reads the news on a daily basis. It’s an immoral, boneheaded maneuver from a massive, “forward-thinking” software company that deserves scrutiny.
And it’s worth repeating that Intuit couldn’t even hire a PR firm to write a press release explaining the decision or come up with an excuse like “NORML’s widespread reach and existence somehow violated the contest’s rules” (even though they don’t).
It’s also worth considering that the nefarious marijuana likes of Roger Goodell, the NFL, and FOX (where the Super Bowl is airing) caught wind of NORML’s run at the contest, contacted Intuit, and nipped the bud in the butt. But we’ll never know.
Instead: nothing but a slap in the face.
NORML was robbed. We as a community were robbed. And the entire nation was robbed of seeing the truth on the big stage.
But hey, at least we get to see Bruno Mars and maybe even a commercial for POOP.