This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Were All About Crypto and NFTs.
What does this mean for the future of digital assets?
In this year’s Super Bowl LVI—in which the Los Angeles Rams narrowly beat the Cincinnati Bengals—the average cost of a thirty-second commercial was $6.5 million. Any company, brand, or organization that wanted a slice of this limited airtime would certainly need to know what they were doing.
While the Super Bowl is obviously a big day for many of the world’s biggest football stars, it is also a big day for many of the world’s leading brands. This year’s ad class contained a lot of the classic product lines we’ve come to know over the years—food, beer, and car ads were all ubiquitous. However, there were also a few new names among this year’s leading advertisers. Cryptocurrency platforms, including FTX and Coinbase, enjoyed a tremendous level of success. Additionally, some of the more traditional brands, including Budweiser, Pepsi, and Kia, were able to successfully incorporate non-fungible tokens (NFT) into their content, as well.
So, what do these ads mean for the future of the digital asset community? Here are a few of our most pressing thoughts:
People Are Genuinely Interested in Digital Assets
It’s one thing to actually spend the millions of dollars needed to land a Super Bowl commercial—it’s another to actually generate results. And it seems that, as a whole, viewers were particularly interested in cryptocurrencies and brands using NFTs. According to marketing analyst Devin Carroll, “The advertisers that generated the second and third most Super Bowl-related tweets on Sunday were cryptocurrency exchange platforms FTX and Coinbase, who both ran promotions giving away cryptocurrencies while Pepsi, Kia, and Budweiser had success on social media with NFT-related content.”
This means that viewers were doing more than just passively having the commercials play in the background. They were actually taking to social media to discuss crypto and NFTs. And, as Google Analytics data suggests, people were also actively looking on the world’s leading search engine for more information.
Digital Assets are Being Pushed Further into the Mainstream
In the early years of the digital asset era (think Bitcoin, circa 2010), these assets were often viewed by the public as obscure or something that was reserved for only those who were incredibly tech-savvy—keep in mind, this is the same general public that considered the internet to be “a fad” in the 1990s. But this recent Super Bowl ad push helps illustrate how digital assets are continuing a strong push from the periphery of the investment community into a mainstream asset class.
According to Nielsen, the Super Bowl was viewed by about 101 million Americans. That means that more than 100 million Americans were exposed to crypto and NFT as concepts—for some, this was their first moment of exposure, for others, it helped reinforce their pre-existing understanding of these assets. The combination of widespread exposure, high levels of search engine activity, and the high volume of advertisements are all indicators that digital assets are being treated as a more mainstream asset class.
The Public is Looking for New Alternatives
In addition to noticing a large number of ads from companies in the digital asset space, it is also important to note who wasn’t included in this year’s national Super Bowl ads. Specifically, there was almost no representation of the “traditional” financial institutions that have advertised during the Super Bowl in years past. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and other megabanks all passed on participating in this year’s Super Bowl ads.
What does this mean for the average American consumer? As we have seen, people are losing their enthusiasm (or, should we say, patience) for traditional banking options. With most big bank savings accounts paying near 0 percent interest—and with inflation hovering above 7 percent per year—people are looking for better ways to store and potentially increase their wealth. Had somebody put $1,000 in a savings account in 2017, they’d have about $1,050 today. If they had put the same in Bitcoin, for example, they’d currently have about $44,000. While Bitcoin is just one of many digital assets available, it’s clear that the public is starting to seriously consider alternatives.
FOMO is a Driving Motivator
Prior to 2020, the limited ads we have seen for crypto, NFTs, and other digital assets have mostly centered on how these assets are “the future” of the economy. And while there are plenty of indicators that this sentiment is still broadly true, many advertisements have notably shifted in tone and are now focusing on the present.
One of the most notable commercials from the Super Bowl (as measured by social and search engine engagement) was a commercial featuring Larry David—co-creator of Seinfeld and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm—for the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. David, who is widely known for his deadpan, critical, and generally “grumpy” approach to comedy, is shown in a montage where he consistently rejects previously successful inventions, including the lightbulb, and even the wheel. At the end of the commercial, David rejects the idea of crypto, suggesting to the audience that someone thinking crypto is “a fad” is as foolish as someone thinking the wheel was “a fad” in the stone age.
This measurably successful commercial shows how digital asset messaging has experienced a significant evolution over the past few years. Leading crypto and NFT providers are no longer promising that their assets will someday be valuable—instead, they are focusing on how this value is presently building. And if you wait too long, you might end up missing out.
The Super Bowl, in many ways, is a microcosm of American culture. And, based on this year’s Super Bowl commercials, it is clear that the culture is moving in a specific direction. Digital assets are in a position to thrive—now is the time for individuals, businesses, and just about everyone else to begin making moves.