We provoked Coinbase to take a big risk during one of the most–watched television events of the year, with a Super Bowl spot so popular it crashed their app.
Since its inception, Coinbase has focused on helping everyone access cryptocurrency with an easy to use, safe and secure platform. While they have grown rapidly over the years without mass brand exposure, they hit a tipping point in 2021 and needed to take their mission to the next level.
Coinbase has big ambitions for crypto. Their goal is to enable one billion people to access the cryptoeconomy—a lofty growth goal from the already massive 73 million people they serviced by the end of 2021. The business challenge we addressed was twofold:
Cryptocurrency saw strong awareness growth in 2021, but nearly two-thirds of all Americans still didn’t understand cryptocurrency and didn’t think crypto was for “people like them.” However, 45% of the growth audience said they’d be more likely to consider crypto if someone guided them through the process. Simplifying this insight further: the best way to learn is to do.
And thus, the creative idea “Less Talk, More Bitcoin” was born. Our idea centred on creating a mass participation moment to bring newcomers into the cryptoeconomy in the simplest way—by showing them that getting involved is as easy as downloading an app.
The Super Bowl is America’s biggest stage for advertising with 100+ million viewers tuning in. Not only that, our research showed that the Super Bowl reached 70% of our bullseye Crypto Beginner audience, making it the perfect platform to introduce Coinbase and ignite mass participation.
Despite the Super Bowl checking the audience box, we knew a traditional spot would not drive breakthrough participation. We also knew competitors bought into the Super Bowl heavily, and we couldn’t outshout them all. Fortunately we took an early gamble and secured a prime position in the first half and knew we’d be first. Based on this, we also strategically chose to not tease or support with other media. One surprise :60s spot – and that was it.
It was time to seize the moment.
So, how do you get millions of people curious about crypto to participate in the category for the first time? Make it easy for them to try it. No dancing puppies. No talking babies. No celebrities. Just an invitation to engage.
While we knew our strategy might be polarising, out of our audience of 100+mm we knew there would be millions that would love it.
To stay true to Coinbase’s egalitarian values and drive mass participation, we produced the antithesis to every other hyper-produced Super Bowl ad: a :60 lo-fi video featuring a large, bouncing QR code that drove to a simple landing page where customers could enter sweepstakes. This simple sweepstakes execution provided two massive incentives for customers and two equally massive opportunities for Coinbase:
Given the unusual execution and minimalist branding of the spot, we worked closely with NBC (and even the NFL) to push the boundaries of what was legally and technically possible to air. Coinbase challenged the status quo creatively and also redefined how the Super Bowl works with their partners.
The execution shattered expectations with staggering lifts in brand consideration, participation and revenue.
In just one sixty second ad with other supporting media: