Interview with Kerri Accardi, President of 420MEDIA
Advertising is a huge challenge for companies in the cannabis industry, with television opportunities extremely rare. One activist and entrepreneur who is seeking create the biggest cannabis media blitz since “Reefer Madness” is Kerri Accardi, the President of 420MEDIA, which is creating a prime-time show on medical cannabis that will air in multiple markets with advertising opportunities for cannabis companies. When I first heard of her bold project last year, it sounded too good to be true. Having followed her progress, though, the reality of cannabis companies advertising on network television appears to be imminent. Check out Kerri’s story!
Alan: Kerri, thanks for taking the time to tell New Cannabis Ventures readers about your trailblazing project. Before we get into the details, how did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
Kerri: Hi Alan, thank you so much for asking. I left NYC December 10, 2013 on a soul mission to help educate the world about cannabis after losing my Aunt Kathy, my best friend and mentor. We were in the East coast and she did not have the option of using cannabis. We could hardly even find information about the medicinal properties other than the phoenix tears website.
It was devastating to watch someone I loved and cared about so deeply lose their life because of fear, propaganda, and lack of access to a plant we have receptors for. I know cannabis would have helped her. The best way I can put it is in my life my Aunt Kathy gave me everything and in her death she gave me purpose.
Alan: It’s so sad that your own story of personal loss is one that is all too common among advocates and people who work in the cannabis industry. So, you created 420MEDIA to help share information about the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis. What has your company been doing over the past few years?
Kerri: Well, there was a period before I launched 420MEDIA. I left NYC with a need to immerse myself into the world of cannabis and learn everything possible. I was fortunate to know someone who owned a collective in Northern Cali so I started there… learned to grow, went to political council meetings, sat with lawyers, lobbyists, patients, doctors and more. Then in January 2014, NY quasi-legalized through executive order and that’s when I decided to start 420MEDIA. It was imperative we showcase the plant for the miracle she is… In a professional manner like most other businesses.
Long story short, three states later 420MEDIA was formed. In the past two years 420MEDIA has filmed a lot! We filmed Seattle Hempfest for the past couple of years as well as worked with MJBA and many others.
At the end of 2014, I was contacted by a television station to create cannabis content and somewhat switched gears. In August 2015, AK Ventures SPC was created. It is a social purpose corporation with the mission to educate the world about cannabis. We are currently “agency of record” with CBS and producing a medical cannabis series that will air monthly during prime-time on CBS and CW stations!
Alan: There has been a significant amount of media focus on cannabis over the past two years, but a prime-time represents a breakthrough for the industry. How did this project evolve?
Kerri: It is totally a breakthrough! I feel humbled and grateful to be part of it, Alan. Like everything in this journey, it was very organic and crazy! Our initial agreement started with 10 one-minute features and 10 industry-sponsored ads that would air on CBS and CW stations in multiple markets. The whole point was to give the industry a place to share information about their business/product on television while supporting education and awareness. We are in a highly political year with lots on the ballot for cannabis, yet in my research people are still confused about almost every aspect.
We started filming as soon as we aligned with our first sponsor, Lelehnia DuBois, of Humboldt Grace. During the process of going back and forth on approvals with CBS HQ and submitting our first one minute feature about a teenage medical refugee with Crohn’s disease, they gave AKV another opportunity. This time it was a thirty-minute series that will air Prime-time Saturday nights monthly for three months directly before the election! It’s called “Medical Cannabis: The Healing Power Of Knowledge”
We can have cannabis industry sponsors, featured product placement, and topical discussions…this was a game changer for me as an activist and filmmaker! For clarity: AKV buys airtime, and 420MEDIA creates content.
Currently we are creating a modern day variety series that will showcase the positive benefits of cannabis! We are working with experts, doctors, patients, nurses, athletes, veterans, pioneers and more to create a visually appealing, entertaining, educational series while giving the industry an opportunity to feature their cannabis product to millions of people directly to their homes during Prime-time on mainstream TV! We were recently able to lower pricing and extend reach, and we are partnering with additional media partners too.
I truly believe this is the biggest media play since reefer madness! I’m so excited it feels surreal.
Alan: If I understand this correctly, the show consists of multiple segments from longer content that will be broadcast on the internet in separate segments around a variety of topics related to medical cannabis. So, you are offering cannabis companies the ability to advertise both in prime-time television and also on the content you will broadcast on the internet, right? Can you explain the advertising options in both scenarios? Have you finalized the main topics?
Kerri: Yes, simultaneously with the television series airing on CBS we are launching an online TV network called “Hmm Did You Know” (HDYK).
We will expand information and exposure starting with five full 42-minute series of segments that initially air on CBS! Topics will include Health And Wellness, Business, Hemp, Politics, Patients with our Veteran and Athlete series shortly after.
On HDYK, each series will be divided into ten episodes 4:20 each and we are selling the cannabis industry 15 second customized graphic commercials to be placed with two per episode.
For clarity: While on CBS the segments may only get 2-3 minutes edited because of our time constraint; online we will have a full series, 10 episodes, 4:20 each featuring two cannabis industry commercials!
The intention is alliance and education globally while taking the cannabis industry from virtually zero commercials to over 100 professionally produced and placed in series “as seen on CBS”.
It’s time to take it to the next level!
The two opportunities that exist for cannabis industry exposure are on CBS and HDYK. Exclusive “featured product placement” in a medical cannabis series will air on CBS and CW stations that includes 10 seconds on air with description, logo, and website on-screen, offered per market and topic. There will be a maximum of 5 per products topic and NO repeats (i.e. if an edible company comes into the Los Angeles TV show it will be the only one) That market alone reaches about 5.5 Million TV Homes during primetime and airs twice! The topics include:
- Health And Wellness
HDYK has 15-second customized graphic commercials and placement available (two featured per episode). It’s first come, first serve our inventory is time… and we’re on a timeline!
Cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the country yet it’s still listed as a schedule one drug and patented for it’s medicinal properties by the same government… there is limited banking, advertising, and constant stream of propaganda- still.
I promised my Aunt Kathy before she died that I would do everything in my power to educate the world about cannabis so they didn’t have to suffer and die like what I was watching her go through. My soul mission has turned into viable businesses and TV opportunities for the industry all with the intention of educating the world about cannabis. It’s surreal.
Alan: That sounds really exciting. How can readers get in touch with you if they want more information?
Kerri: They can call me at (425) 420-0585 or email me at [email protected]
Alan: Thanks, Kerri, for taking time to discuss this project. Good luck!
Kerri: I am really grateful for your time and this interview, Alan. It has brought up a lot of memories.