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Sometimes Super Bowl ads show someone has too much money to burn

February 14, 2022, 10:43 AM UTC

Good morning.

I’m a Super Bowl ad addict. The costly spots give the world’s best marketing teams a once-a-year opportunity to show their stuff. Sometimes they amuse (thank you, Doritos and Irish Spring). Sometimes they fall flat (sorry, Michelob and Disney+). Sometimes they are worth it for the talent (Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus belong together, and Toyota’s “Keeping Up With the Jones” was inspired). And then, occasionally, they just show someone has too much money to burn. 

One notable relic of the last category was MicroStrategy’s ad in 2000. What was a business-software maker doing advertising at the Super Bowl? At the time, the company was pushing an intelligence-everywhere vision of the future that caused its stock to enjoy GameStop exuberance. When the ad ran, CEO Michael Saylor had a paper net worth of $7 billion. A little more than a month later, the news broke that the SEC was investigating, and the company’s stock crashed to earth.

These days, Saylor is best known for his advocacy of cryptocurrency. So it’s fitting that many of this year’s Super Bowl head scratchers came from the crypto crowd. I went on Twitter to try to find out what the bouncing QR code commercial from Coinbase was supposed to mean. Never mind, I was told—they are giving away Bitcoin.

But it was the FTX–Larry David ad that proved to me it’s possible to be riding a wave and be inspired at the same time. My favorite of the game. I’m eager to hear from CEO Daily readers who had other favorites.

Worth pointing out that Saylor’s 2000 vision of “intelligence everywhere” eventually came to pass—but more thanks to Apple, Google, and the like than to MicroStrategy. I have no doubt 20 years on, crypto and all its manifestations also will be central to the way the world works. But that doesn’t mean you should feel FOMO for not putting all your wealth into Bitcoin today.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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