Saturday, October 20, 2018
Why is the Disclaimer Longer Than the High Times IPO Radio Ad?
Two weeks into its $10 million dollar deal with broadcast giant iHeartMedia, airwaves across the country are vibrating with new advertisements inviting people to invest in High Times’ initial public offering. If you live in a state with legal adult-use or medical cannabis, you’ve probably heard the ad already. There are hundreds of iHeartMedia radio stations in the U.S. But High Times is prioritizing airtime in weed-legal states. So far, the ads have generated a lot of buzz online, as did the deal between High Times and iHeartMedia that landed the broadcaster a 5 percent stake in the cannabis media leader. But if you’ve heard the ad, you probably noticed that its message—invest now—gets short shrift compared to the lengthy legalese that uses most of the ad’s time. So why is the disclaimer longer than the High Times IPO radio ad?
IPOs Are Risky Investments, and the SEC Requires Tons of Disclaimers
High Times is planning to go public. And it’s looking to raise the $14.7 million it needs to list on the NASDAQ through a unique crowdfunding IPO. High Times has been around for 40 years, and it has earned a loyal and enthusiastic following along the way. To make sure those dedicated fans aren’t sidelined as it goes public, High Times is offering shares at $11, requiring just a $99 minimum buy in. Instead of a brokerage account, all you need is a credit card or ACH.
Making its IPO so accessible, however, meant added SEC scrutiny. And unfortunately for the radio ad, covering all its bases takes significantly more verbiage than letting people know about the IPO. As a result, the ad’s disclaimer is almost comedically long. Any ad for an initial public offering would require a similarly lengthy disclaimer. But High Time’s Regulation A+ IPO calls for a little extra.
High Times Enthusiasts Are Already Having Fun With The IPO Ad
Green Rush Daily
The High Times IPO radio ad is just one minute long. But the part of it that invites listeners to visit hightimesinvestor.com is over just 16.5 seconds into it. And the rest is all disclaimer. One video “response” to the ad, now up on HT’s YouTube channel, has a little fun with that fact. A dude smoking weed is dancing merrily in front of a static image of the New York Stock Exchange. To his right, a transcript of the radio ad rolls by like film credits. Cheesy graphics highlight the important parts.
When the dude finds out he can just hop online and invest in High Times, he thoughtfully puffs on a joint while taking out his phone. But then, the disclaimer begins, and our dude is a little startled. He starts hearing about the highly speculative nature of investing in common shares, their significant risks, and how they’re only suitable for persons who can afford to lose their entire investment.
Clearly overwhelmed by the legalese, our dude takes another hit and shrugs. But then he turns back to study it more closely. All boilerplate stuff, really. Speculative investments carry risks; it may not work out. And iHeartMedia makes sure to tell listeners that while it holds investments in High Times, it has no responsibility for anything to do with the ad, its information, or what High Times says or files with the SEC.
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