NORML’S Ad Contest Winners, Ready To Launch On Cable TV

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director March 22, 2009

    A few Thank Yous are in order…

    by George Rohrbacher, NORML Board of Directors

    NORML is the world’s oldest and most well-known marijuana law reform organization, a grassroots driven, non-profit providing credible and verifiable information needed by reformers, patients and consumers.

    NORML is funded by thousands of small contributions from thousands of Big people.

    The Genesis of this year’s ad contest
    A year ago January, the very first NORML Internet ad ever created (above), resurfaced by chance on the Internet, and within a week, NORML gained tens of thousands of new friends on FaceBook!


    About the same time, it became apparent on my calculator that by late 2008, America would make its 20-millionth marijuana arrest! If there was ever a number that screamed, “Enough!!”, 20-million marijuana arrests was it!!

    As we designed a contest to publicize the 20-millionth marijuana arrest, many different volunteers shouldered the wheel to help us make this thing happen. NORML’s lead off contest graphic, “Marijuana Gothic”, featuring Sam Caldwell, the First Federal Marijuana Arrest, was work donated to NORML by the artist, as were all the primary graphics used throughout the rest of the NORML’s Ad Contest Campaign.

    Next, I set out to raise the money to make the contest happen, the prize money that would inspire competition and quality, and the funding required to build the web capacity for NORML to even host the contest. First in was one of my oldest closest friends, a fellow farmer, who donated $3,000 to build NORML’s web hosting capacity. Next to donate, was my 85-year-old mother-in-law, who donated $5,000 for cash prizes for the video artists. Other friends and family kicked in the seed money to make the contest happen, and after much work by staff, NORML’s website finally posted the NORML Ad Contest in mid-summer. And then, we waited for the first entries to start coming in.

    By mid-October, the economic events and the historic Presidential Election sucked the oxygen out of all other political discussions. NORML decided to extend our contest deadlines and expand our topic to include anything our incoming President needed to know about Pot, including the 20-million marijuana arrests. By the time our contest closed the in mid-January, well over a hundred high quality entries came in!!!

    When we posted the top-25 entries on NORML’s website, the ads got over 350,000 views, and more than 6,000 people viewed the ads and then voted to help pick our winners.

    Record-low advertising rates on cable TV gave us an unexpected opportunity for a national NORML Ad campaign, using our winning ads. When the contest winners were posted just a few weeks ago, almost $7,000 in contributions to run NORML ads on cable TV poured in within the first 48 hours, and mostly $10 and $20 at a time! About $11,000 is our total now.

    Yes We Cannabis!
    One of those contributions, for a $1,000 to help run the winning NORML ads on cable TV/Internet, came from an ordinary working person from the Pacific Northwest, who said in a note attached to the donation: “If every ‘closet cannabis user’ donated…the laws would be changed…I hope I can be an encouragement to others…WE are the stakeholders.”

    Amen, Brother.

    Extraordinary times beget extraordinary courage and commitment. Together with NORML, you can end Marijuana Prohibition. Please help.

    51 responses to “NORML’S Ad Contest Winners, Ready To Launch On Cable TV”

    1. Jake says:

      I’m going to donate and buy some NORML gear as soon as I can find a job. I’m just a lowly college student with no money but I will help as soon as I can. Keep up the good work everyone!

    2. norml.lee says:

      You should look into advertising on http://www.hulu.com. I really think this is the future of Television and you’d be reaching a core audience of young people who only use the internet for their entertainment needs.

    3. j glock says:

      Just my 2 cents,I see that you have a goal of 20K but I think by the time you reach that it will be summer. I don’t know about everyone else but I watch a lot less tv when the weather is nice.I think if you could start the ads ASAP before people get spring fever. Thanks

    4. Darrell Kilgore says:

      Hopefully the advertising will create a snowball effect on the reform movement. Let us know when,and where, the ads will run. LEGALIZE

    5. Anonymous says:

      to poster #2… norml doesn’t really need to convince young people, so that’s a bad idea.

    6. Hoss says:

      Perhaps I missed it, but did anyone say when, where and on what channels those winning ads are ACTUALLY going to be aired??? I am behind this cause as much as anyone, and HAVE donated, but at some point talk must become action…

    7. Kyle says:

      I believe that reaching the 30-50 year olds would be more important in this fight then reaching young kids who already support marijuana reform. It lets them know that this is serious. You need to create talk, controversy thus free media and possibly enough spark for change.

    8. GodsSeed says:

      we just need that one state that ends prohibition, then more will follow. come on people, you can feel it, this IS our time!!!

    9. Nax says:

      not to burst the bubble here, but what good is a TV ad that will be censored, removed, blocked, or refused by people who don’t agree with those who are pro-pot? I can tell you the TV stations here would refuse ten million just because they don’t want marijuana in the open.

    10. Delpart says:

      Hulu is definitely a way to reach and impact more people. Though I’m not sure the advertising costs on their “network” are within NORML’s means. It would be especially useful for getting the Gen Y range who are more than likely to miss an advertisement through normal advertising. (Or even some of us old timers who use a DVR and the like.)

      Useful commentary. Thank you norml.lee