We’ve all heard of specialty agencies. There are also some cases like Cavalry, which for a time only made ads promoting various MillerCoors alcoholic beverage brands.
But an agency that only creates work related to marijuana legalization? That’s completely new to us.
Yesterday LBB Online ran a Q&A with Howard Bowler, founder of New York’s Green Point Creative. Bowler is an industry veteran. He spent more than a decade with Grey, where he was an audio engineer and ultimately managed the shop’s post department (according to his LinkedIn profile). After leaving the network to start an audio production company, he appropriately launched a shop dedicated to this one very specific issue on April 20th of this year. But why? Let’s aggregate a bit.
Here’s what he told LBB:
“Green Point is a creative content agency currently tackling the problems of harsh drug policy facing the United States today.
A family member was arrested last year on a possession charge even though he physically had no marijuana on him at the time. Throughout the whole overly complicated legal process I began to do some research on my own and discovered that not only is the War on Drugs a fraud, it is a war against minorities and the poor. Nothing more, nothing less.”
The agency’s site opens with a quote from Richard Nixon’s counsel John Ehrlichman stating that the administration’s War on Drugs was “really all about” punishing two opposition groups: “the antiwar left and black people.” He added, “Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
Here’s the agency’s PSA, released last month, that plays on Nixon’s announcement.
Bowler told LBB that his new content agency is an offshoot of the audio company: “If you look at ad agency models, they tend to build in house production units for their creative. We started from the other direction as an audio post company and now expanding into creative content. It’s a very fluid and exciting time.”
Indeed. The agency’s site doesn’t list any clients, which is not surprising given that marijuana in New York state still falls into a very grey area, especially if it has no official medical purpose.
This project is similar to a PR firm/nonprofit advocacy organization we profiled a couple of years ago that was created to serve one type of client: those whose business involves marijuana in some way. The idea was to “prepare corporations” for the inevitable market in which they can openly cater to stoners.
We’re not sure exactly how that went, but Bowler told LBB that his agency has already moved from radio spots to long-form video ads and “informative new media content,” adding: “The main goal is to continue de-stigmatising marijuana. Shedding that stoner image has always been a huge goal for us.”
Here’s the first PSA, which went live on June 9th.
Legalization is coming to your state if it hasn’t already. But we wonder whether this sort of project will become a trend as well.