Once A-list celebrities start advocating for some cultural phenomenon en masse, it’s probably too late to get in on the ground floor. The broader crypto world was suffering from a bit too much success heading into this year, and accordingly, spending on TV advertisements by crypto companies reached a peak within the first two months of 2022, according Bloomberg.
In January and February, for example, firms like Coindesk, Crypto.com, and FTX, among others, spent a collective $125 million on TV spots. Compare that figure ($85 million stemming from February spending) to this past July, in which only a paltry $36,000 was used towards ad spending, mirroring the nose dive in crypto valuations and a renewed distrust in the industry.
This February’s peak coincided with the Super Bowl, in which the country witnessed Matt Damon assuming his role as the face of Crypto.com, telling audiences that “fortune favors the bold.” Coinbase’s ad featured a minimalist, bouncing QR code, while the ensuing website traffic crashed its site. Larry David even played the doofus, crypto skeptic for FTX.
I would like to believe that Larry David actually was hesitant on diving head-first into the crypto market.
Boom and bust cycle— To be fair, another reason for the drop off in ad spending during July is partially related to the month being a dead zone for sports, which became a natural landing spot for the relatively nascent companies in the crypto space to make a mainstream splash.
Still, spending from April through June was also down compared to the previous highs at the beginning of the year. In this three-month period one would imagine an increase in paid TV spots, considering the NBA playoffs begin in mid-April and the MLB season kicks off around the same time.
Throughout the year, a widespread dip in some of the biggest digital currencies took place with Bitcoin and Ethereum both falling by a bit more than 50 percent when compared to valuations back in November 2021. Other companies that are crypto-adjacent like OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, laid off a staggering amount of its workforce, in July, feeding into a fears of a prolonged crypto winter.
Adpocalypse — While it’s hard to imagine ad spending to remain as low as $36,000, it would be surprising to see budgets going back to peak levels. Perhaps the arrival of the NFL season, MLB playoffs, and the kickoff of the NBA season, in mid-to-late October, could usher in a set of new crypto advertisements.
Whatever plays out, it is safe to assume the messaging used in any future ads — crypto as an expansive wild west frontier — might take a different tune.