Crypto’s slick Super Bowl message: Don’t miss out

February 11, 2022, 6:45 PM UTC

Are you ready for some crypto?

With Super Bowl LVI set to feature ads from at least four cryptocurrency exchanges—and a fifth running some creative counterprogramming—the new-wave industry will look to further define itself before the masses Sunday during a pinnacle event for American marketing. 

If the ads released so far are any indication, they’ll be heavily invested in a common—if somewhat ill-timed—theme: FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”

That’s the idea behind an already-released ad from Canadian crypto marketplace Bitbuy, which will run its 30-second spot on TVs north of the border. 

“So many Canadians wish they bought tech stocks or real estate just 10 years ago,” an amped-up Bitbuy suit tells Kyle Lowry, a former guard for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

A trailer from Bahamas-based exchange FTX takes a similar tack, urging viewers that they shouldn’t “miss out” when the marketplace plans to give away several Bitcoin (likely valued in the low- to mid-six figures total) after the game.  

The dominant blockchain advertiser to date, Singapore-based, hasn’t teased info about its ad yet, but its current eight-figure ad campaign features actor Matt Damon declaring that “fortune favors the brave.” American exchange Coinbase also is expected to air a spot, though details remain scant.

The promos deliver an understandable message given crypto’s boom to start the decade. The value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has nearly quintupled, while the globe’s second-most traded cryptocurrency, Ethereum, is up more than 20-fold. 

The message also might resonate more with a younger, more risk-tolerant demographic, which serves as the industry’s primary customer base. Among roughly 10,000 American adults surveyed in September by Pew Research Center, about 31% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they had dabbled in cryptocurrency, compared with about 5% of those older than 50.

Still it’s a risky approach given the recent decline in cryptocurrency values, which has brought greater awareness of its volatility and raised the hackles of federal lawmakers. During a recent 10-week stretch, Bitcoin and Ethereum shed roughly half their value. (Both have rebounded a bit, but remain more than 30% off their all-time highs.)

The ads released to date also haven’t done much to explain how crypto works or why it will weather the recent downturn—questions that wary investors surely want answered. 

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, echoed those concerns this week with some pre–Super Bowl needling of its competitors. The company, ironically, tabbed three NBA celebrities (including Miami Heat star and current Kyle Lowry teammate Jimmy Butler) to deliver a message of crypto caution through a social media campaign.

“I can give you advice on a lot of things. Your money isn’t one of them,” Butler told his 7 million–plus Instagram and Twitter followers in a video posted this week. “On Feb. 13, some of the biggest names are going to be telling you to get into crypto. Binance and I, we’re here to tell you: Trust yourself, and do your own research.”

We’ll see Monday if the FOMO message makes investors immediately clamor for crypto. In the meantime, enjoy the game. (And go Bengals!)

Want to send thoughts or suggestions for Data Sheet? Drop me a line here.

Jacob Carpenter


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In other privacy news. Apple announced Thursday it’s making several changes to its AirTags that are designed to curb misuse of the tracking devices by stalkers and abusive partners. The tweaks follow reports that unwitting individuals were followed using hard-to-find AirTag trackers, which are intended to help customers find their keys, wallets, and other valuables. Following the planned changes, iPhone users will be able to use their phones to find any AirTags near them, and Apple will send alerts when possibly unwanted AirTags are detected. 

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Four’s a trend? Tesla is recalling 578,600 vehicles to fix an external audio issue that could put pedestrians at greater risk of injury, Reuters reported Thursday. It’s the fourth recall in the past two weeks for the electric vehicle manufacturer, which is under added scrutiny by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most recent recall aims to fix the “Boombox” feature on four Tesla models, which could play music so loud that it drowns out a vehicle-approaching warning emitted from the cars. Tesla has said it’s unaware of any injuries resulting from the four recalls.


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From the article:

Investors have been reassessing their love for technology stocks in the face of rising bond yields and higher interest rates. But while there’s a broader shift afoot, food delivery companies are plunging disproportionately to their tech peers. 

Analysts point to the unpredictable nature of the business after a pandemic-driven surge, regulatory hurdles to their business models, incessant competition from startups, and untested new businesses for why they are trailing peers.


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