It’s been less than a week since the LA Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. While not as exciting as the riveting divisional games, it was a well-played and suspenseful game. As always, the commercials got a lot of attention.
Jumping in this year for the first time in Super Bowl history, the Cryptocurrency industry showed up in a big way. Six of the 56 commercials that reached out to the audience of 112 million people were crypto-related.
Why now? Recruiting new users can be simple when prices are skyrocketing. It’s a bit harder after tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum have lost some steam, now down 35% from all-time highs.
A Super Bowl ad can catapult a brand into the mainstream consciousness, which would help the exchanges boost crypto adoption coming off a painful downturn that’s made even some of the biggest advocates skittish about a potential bear market. A jump in new users after the game would help keep the platforms — dependent on trading volumes — growing.
That’s likely one reason they were willing to pay top dollar for ad space.
We are all aware that crypto is a risky business and the crypto companies who ran ads took a big gamble at a cost of $7 million for a 30-second commercial.
Crypto companies are no stranger to the high cost of advertising. At least $112.9 million has been spent on national crypto-related ads since the start of 2020, according to iSpot.tv data provided by John Cassillo, a TVREV analyst.
iSpot.tv data chart
Crypto.com, FTX, Coinbase, eToro, Meta, and Turbotax made their Super Bowl debuts. It seems to have paid off at least for Coinbase and FTX who ran extremely well received commercials. Coinbase for their QR based commercial and FTX for a commercial starring Larry David.
Spending on crypto-related national television ads since January 2020
Crypto.com has deployed about $65 million on its advertising campaign with actor Matt Damon. FTX has invested $21 million on multiple campaigns, including a handful with now-retired quarterback Tom Brady. And SoFi Technologies Inc. — the namesake of Sunday’s stadium — has spent roughly $18 million on ads. However, SoFi notably will not be running a Super Bowl spot this year, according to a spokesperson.
With Bitcoin now more than a decade old, cryptocurrencies may have exhausted their market for early adopters, R.A. Farrokhnia, a Columbia Business School professor, said.
“For these companies who are providing some foundational services — primarily exchanges or those who let you create a wallet — in order to grow, they need more volume,” said Farrokhnia, who is also executive director of the university’s fintech initiative. “You have to convince consumers to start coming into this ecosystem.”
The recent boom in crypto is often compared to the speculative dot-com era of the late 1990s, which reached a fever pitch at the Super Bowl in 2000 when ill-fated companies like Pets.com made their debut only to weeks later see their values plummet in the stock market crash.
The market for cryptocurrencies is digging itself out of a major decline after losing as much as $1.1 trillion in value at one point in January. Furthermore, policymakers remain wary of the volatile asset class, with President Joe Biden set to soon release an executive order on regulation.
However, such concerns didn’t reveal themselves in Sunday’s ads. They were uplifting and fun on the whole. Many more crypto companies are expected to buy ads in Super Bowl LVII in 2023, possibly even Radix.