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The Coinbase Non-Ad Ad


There were a lot of spectacular moments during Superbowl LVI. The football game was decided in the last few minutes of the 4th quarter. The performances before the game were stellar. The halftime show was one of the best in Superbowl history (right up there with Prince and the Marching 100, Michael Jackson and Beyonce!)!!


The Klickrr team is full of marketing enthusiasts (read - marketing nerds!) and therefore we mostly watch for the Superbowl advertisements! Our team's favorite Super Bowl ad was the Coinbase 60 second floating QR co


de. It was actually not really a commercial at all in the traditional sense. There was no set up introducing a problem. The brand didn't solve the problem. There was no information. There was no celebrity. No glitz, no glam. No singing or dancing or anything. It was simply a floating QR code that stayed on the screen for 60 seconds.


In 2022, folks are asking for interaction alongside of media. This looks like social media likes or influencers DMing their fans or brands inviting audiences to co-create. Even QR codes/links for menus during the height of COVID engaged restaurant goers in ways that differed from static menus. Audiences are increasingly expecting to engage with media.


So back to Coinbase...there were several different cryptocurrency trading platforms that advertised their services during the Super bowl last night. But only one of them used creative that was more clever than actually creative.


Coinbase's floating QR code targeted people who had existing knowledge of this QR code medium. If left behind viewers who weren't sure what to do with a QR code. It left behind others that might know how to engage a QR code, but didn't care to engage without being told what was on the other side. But it capture the curious tech savvy viewers who were eager to scan the code and go on a mysterious journey.


Coinbase was seemingly intentional about engaging the curious tech savvy viewers. What does this mean for the future of marketing creative and media buys? Well in this scenario, Coinbase was the first ad in it's category which was a strategic media buy. However, it didn't message the category or even the brand. What it did was pull tech savvy, curious viewers in for further engagement. They created a ton of earned media with new outlets talking about the novelty of the ad buy. They no doubt started tons of conversations between individuals in living rooms across America about QR codes and indeed cryptocurrency and eventually about Coinbase as a platform to use to trade crypto.




Coinbase used TV in a unique way to start a conversation so powerful that it drove enough traffic to their site, their site actually crashed in the moments after the 60 sec ad aired. What does the success of this type of void-of-traditional-creative-but-super-engaging advertisement say about TV as a medium moving forward and it's ability to drive engagement? Will other brands change how TV is used? Or will brands continue to move to other platforms that enable better engagement?


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