Crypto players skip Super Bowl ads, plot other marketing opportunities

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After a handful of crypto firms spent big money on Super Bowl advertisements in 2022, fewer chose to do so in 2023. That number went to zero on Sunday night. 

While no crypto-focused spots appeared during action breaks of a four-plus-hour NFL championship game between the Chiefs and 49ers, segment firms are not completely ditching marketing efforts this year.

Crypto exchange Coinbase, which featured a QR code during its 2022 Super Bowl spot and sat out the game 2023, chose to launch a stablecoin-focused campaign the day after the 2024 matchup.

In the publicly listed company’s newest spot, a melancholic Abraham Lincoln notes the penny’s lost role as a physical means of exchange. The ad’s end tag states that “money is happier when it’s digital.”

“This campaign highlights pennies as a living symbol of the inefficiency of physical money,” a Coinbase spokesperson told Blockworks. “Coinbase believes that the financial system needs an update and that crypto can help move the penny — and all money — forward.”

The spot — which went live on Lincoln’s 215th birthday — was set to run throughout the week during broadcasts of Good Morning America, the Today Show and This Morning, as well as on streaming service Hulu, the representative noted.

A print ad set to appear in the Washington Post on Monday notes there were $9 trillion worth of global stablecoin transfers in 2022. Stablecoins are crypto tokens pegged to a fiat currency to maintain a stable value. 

Coinbase has an equity stake in stablecoin issuer Circle and earns interest income from USDC. 

“USDC and other stablecoins make it possible for currencies like the US dollar to exist in digital form,” Coinbase’s Washington Post ad states. “They provide many of the benefits of cash without the physical downsides.”

Canadian crypto exchange Bitbuy previously ran a Super Bowl ad during the game’s Canadian broadcast in 2022 and 2023, with spots featuring NBA players Kyle Lowry and Scottie Barnes, respectively.

Read more: Bitbuy shifts Super Bowl ad focus from ‘missed opportunities’ to ‘trust’ 

A 30-second spot cost advertisers about $7 million this year.

The company is using the savings from not buying a 2024 Super Bowl ad toward various campaigns that highlight the crypto industry’s upcoming “milestones,” said Charlie Aikenhead, senior vice president of Bitbuy parent company WonderFi.

“We chose not to advertise in this year’s super bowl, but we are still active on TV with our Scottie Barnes campaign that premiered during the last Super Bowl,” Aikenhead told Blockworks. “We also are focusing on key markets in Canada with unique digital [out-of-home advertising] that will help us stand out in our key markets.”

Crypto exchange OKX considered buying an ad during the Super Bowl last year, before opting not to. The company skipped running a spot during the 2024 Super Bowl to focus on existing partnerships with McLaren Racing, Manchester City and the Tribeca Film Festival, according to OKX Chief Marketing Officer Haider Rafique.

Such marketing initiatives “foster deeper engagement with fans for a lower cost than traditional ads,” the executive added. 

“Rather than spreading investment thin, we thoughtfully select categories enabling us to educate traders, customers and mainstream audiences alike,” Rafique told Blockworks. “Across key partnerships, our budgets are fluid.”

Marketing efforts around the US spot bitcoin ETFs that launched in December are expected to continue. Crypto asset manager Bitwise, for example, released a spot last month featuring actor Jonathan Goldsmith — known for playing “the most interesting man in the world” in Dos Equis beer ads.

Read more: New Bitwise ad reflects expected bitcoin ETF marketing blitz

A Bitwise spokesperson declined to comment about its decision to sit out the 2024 Super Bowl.

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Crypto players skip Super Bowl ads, plot other marketing opportunities is written by Ben Strack for

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