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How a Desire to “Try Something Different” Led to Coinbase’s QR Code Super Bowl Ad

London, UK
The brand stood out as one of numerous crypto companies at the Big Game with its uber low production value, DVD screensaver inspired commercial, writes LBB’s Addison Capper

Engineering teams at Coinbase, the crypto platform that stormed the Super Bowl with its DVD screensaver inspired QR code spot, load-tested its website to handle millions of simultaneous hits. It still crashed. 

"The volume we experienced was astounding in comparison to our projections," said Coinbase CMO Kate Rouch in a Q&A blog post. The brand saw over 20 million hits on the landing page - which people could access by scanning the QR code - volume that Katy said was "historic and unprecedented". 

The engagement didn't stop with viewers - numerous fellow Super Bowl advertisers, such as Avocados From Mexico, FTX, Intuit, Irish Spring and Mr. Peanut, made Coinbase spots of their own and posted them on their social channels. 

At the core of what was Coinbase's first Super Bowl commercial was an invitation to everyone - from total beginners to advanced traders - to access the cryptoeconomy. The QR code allowed viewers to participate in what Coinbase has called "the industry's biggest giveaway ever" and the first of over $100 million incentives for the crypto community expected this year. 

New customers in the US who registered for a Coinbase account within 48 hours of the Super Bowl would receive $15 in Bitcoin so they can begin exploring the cryptoeconomy. New and existing Coinbase customers could also enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three $1 million prizes. The campaign was created by Accenture Interactive. 

"We heard a lot of messages from advertisers during the Super Bowl today, and we wanted to try something different," said Kate about the low production values of the spot. "Our core inspiration for the ad was the curiosity and intimidation we know many people have about crypto. We wanted to pique their interest by doing something different, something that’s never been done in the history of Super Bowl advertising — a playful, low production nod to a popular Internet meme that invites action and discussion both in the living room, and on social media. We are a remote first company. Our CEO and his co-founder met on Reddit. Traditional highly produced Super Bowl advertising just didn’t feel inspiring to us. We wanted to show up in a more authentic way to our brand. We hope people found it in turn surprising, confounding and delightful. Most of all, we hope it inspired them to take their first step into crypto."

The campaign has split opinion among the advertising community with many praising its uniqueness while others scorn at it all being for the sake of creativity. But few can argue with the engagement prompted by it. What's more, Coinbase was just one of numerous crypto / metaverse companies present at this year's Super Bowl, as my colleague Ben Conway covered here

"There have been a lot of comparisons to the era and speculation that many of the crypto companies advertising in this year’s Super Bowl will inevitably fail," said Kate on that matter. "We don’t think about it that way and judging from the early response we’ve seen, Super Bowl viewers don’t either. The ethos of crypto is about new models of ownership, creativity and community - building each other up, not tearing each other down.

"The number of crypto ads at the Super Bowl is yet another signal that crypto is bursting into the mainstream, and at the centre of the cultural zeitgeist. What a proud day for crypto!"

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