Written by Joe Jackson on Feb 18, 2022. Posted in General Interest

30-second ad slots for Crypto Bowl 2022 reach average cost of USD6.5 million

Broadcasters NBC sold 30-second advertising slots during this year’s Super Bowl at an average price of USD6.5 million. The 56th edition of the event has become colloquially known as Crypto Bowl 2022 as a result of the high concentration of cryptocurrency exchange companies choosing to purchase such slots. Coinbase, Crypto.com, eToro and FTX Trading were among this year’s group of advertisers as the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals went head-to-head at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.


“These companies are conveying that we’re not this weird little nerdy kid in the corner who’s doing sort-of shifty stuff,” suggests Beth Egan, associate professor of advertising at Syracuse University. “We are a real company, a real advertiser, we’re here to stay, we’re mainstream.”


Coinbase’s simplistic Windows 90-style advertisement was an especially successful campaign, generating 117 million impressions with a bouncing QR code. It is also reported that 20 million people visited the company’s website in a single minute. Approximately 20% of the viewers scanned the code, and in turn around 10% of these scanners signed up to the site (with 20% linking their bank account to their new profiles).


“Traditional, highly-produced Super Bowl advertising just didn't feel inspiring to us,” explains Coinbase's chief marketing officer Kate Rouch. “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."


Coinbase spent USD14 million on the campaign, yet their advertisement generated 500,000 new customers. According to the company's last quarterly report, the average annual value for a new customers sits at roughly USD90. From a single advertisement, the company may have thus generated annual revenue in the region of USD45 million.



"This was the evening's most effective commercial — in terms of both cost-efficiency and measurable impact," says Lucas Piazza, head of marketing at MNTN’s QuickFrame. "We all know the outrageous price tag of a Super Bowl commercial, so hats off to Coinbase for saving some money by making the video production incredibly low-cost."


Commercials from Google, Verizon, eToro, Polestar, E-Trade, FTX, the NFL or Hologic were only available when they aired during the game. However, advertisers did pre-release 45 overall commercials, compared with last year’s final total of 36. There were at least 18 first-time advertisers, below the 21 newcomers who ran commercials at the last Super Bowl. New advertisers included electric vehicle charger Wallbox, betting app Caesars Sportsbook and gym franchise Planet Fitness as well as the aforementioned cryptocurrency brands.


“With Bitcoin now more than a decade old, cryptocurrencies may have exhausted their market for early adopters,” says Columbia Business School academic R.A. Farrokhnia. “For these companies who are providing some foundational services - primarily exchanges or those who let you create a wallet - in order to grow, they need more volume… You have to convince consumers to start coming into this ecosystem.”


The interest sparked by Coinbase's bouncing QR code emphasises the scale and power of contemporary advertising at major sporting events. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the price of certain cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum’s Ether) flatlined when the Super Bowl was over. Although the business did generate nearly 120 million impressions, even Coinbase's shares were slightly down during premarket trading on the following Monday.


Coinbase’s chief product officer Surojit Chatterjee declared on Twitter that the company experienced “more traffic than we’ve ever encountered” and therefore needed to “throttle traffic for a few minutes” after the commercial aired. The organisation’s inability to handle this large volume of traffic may in part explain the lull in share prices. However, cultural commentators will need to continue watching the market carefully as more outcomes - both expected and unanticipated - gradually emerge in the wake of a Super Bowl advertising window dominated by the cryptocurrency craze.


Photos by Bermix Studio (Cryptocurrency) and Johnny Williams (NFL Football) on Unsplash


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