The spot - entitled "Growers" - praises the "perfection-seeking" tendencies of green-thumbs who operate "under the cover of darkness," represented by a range of attractive, plaid-and-hoodie clad, Doc-Marten-wearing actors tending plants under glowing purple LEDs. A voiceover intones:
Growers can be found everywhere. Below buildings and on top of dive bars under the cover of darkness is what they seek. Their attention to detail and pursuit of perfection would drive uninitiated people into madness. Black Magic products are rich and dark, capable of performing beyond conventional levels. Users of Black Magic products may improve the quality of what they grow with suggested usage and care.
Wow. A home-growing ad during the NBA playoffs? Where did this come from? Black Magic, as it turns out, is a subsidiary of Scott's Miracle-Gro: yes: that Miracle-Gro, the garden and lawn-care giant founded in 1868 in Marysville, Ohio, and now a multinational company with offices and research facilities all over the world.
According to Forbes, Scott's Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana-business: $135-million last year on two California-based businesses that sell fertilizers, soils and accessories to pot growers; $120-million on a still-undisclosed lighting and hydroponics equipment company in Amsterdam; and a promised investment of another $150-million by the end of the year.
"It is the biggest thing I've ever seen in lawn and garden," Hagedorn told Forbes.
"I came back [to the office], and I told everyone 'We're doing it,' " Hagedorn said. " If you don't like it, leave. We're doing it. It's beyond stopping. And we're not getting into pot growing. We're talking dirt, fertilizer, pesticides, growing systems, lights. You know it's a multibillion-dollar business, and we've got no growth in our core. Are you guys stupid?"
The company launched its new line of hydroponics equipment in 141 Home Depot stores across Colorado, Washington and Michigan - and it's big money, especially compared with regular garden and lawn care biz. The green-and-black branded bags of peat and coco coir blended soils retail for about $16 from Home Depot, versus the $8 price-tag of Miracle-Gro's standard-issue organic garden soil.
Given the edgy, controversial reputation of Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn, the gardening giant's decision to cash in on the cannabis industry's, ahem, rapid growth comes as little surprise. One thing is becoming rapidly apparent: at-home, small-to-medium-scale growing operations aren't going to stay "under the cover of darkness" for much longer - and the days when home gardening was strictly for botany geeks are coming to a close.