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In context: Crypto industry insiders were all abuzz last year when several crypto-related ads appeared during Super Bowl LVI. In 2022, crypto firms made bold pitches and spent millions of dollars on ads encouraging viewers to invest in digital assets. But just one year later, the crypto industry has been rocked by a major slump in digital asset values. One of the highest profile crypto companies went bankrupt, and others are struggling to stay afloat. Coinbase, the only publicly traded company in the group, has seen its shares fall by more than 60% since its now-infamous "floating QR code" ad campaign.
Fox Sports said Monday that it would not allow cryptocurrency commercials during this year's Super Bowl on February 12, following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. Many firms in the cryptocurrency industry, including Coinbase, Crypto.com, and FTX, advertised their companies during the sports event last year. "There's zero representation in that category on the day at all," said Mark Evans, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports.
According to Evans, two cryptocurrency companies had already reserved Super Bowl ads, while others were "on the one-yard line," but the agreements were canceled as the public learned about the FTX scam.
The Super Bowl is one of the most alluring events for businesses to advertise on, with around 100 million people watching it worldwide each year. In 2022, crypto firms spent $54 million on Super Bowl ads in total. One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S., Coinbase, enticed new customers with the promise of free Bitcoin prizes in a viral ad that featured a bouncing QR code that crashed the company's app. But this year, you can expect none of that noise during Super Bowl LVII.
FTX was worth almost $32 billion a year ago. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady appeared in their Super Bowl commercial. Furthermore, A-list celebrities like Larry David are currently mired in litigation for endorsing FTX during the 2022 Super Bowl, so it's not surprise this year has seen a dramatic decline in celebrity-backed branding sponsorships in the crypto industry.
As you're likely aware, after all that FTX advertising that may have looked thriving on the surface, some nine months later in November 2022, the company filed for bankruptcy, several executives were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy, and accused of misappropriating customer funds.
Masthead credit: Alan Geraghty