What could be more illustrative of American capitalism than this next-day conversation about the ads we saw during the Super Bowl? From food delivery apps to phones that were surprisingly not made by Apple, tech companies caught our eye last night, forcing us to explain to our friends that NFTs aren’t the same as cryptocurrency. .
On cringe and effectiveness scales, here are the best (and worst) Super Bowl tech ads.
A QR code bounced around the black screen like a DVD screen saver, cycling through bright colors as a generic techno song played.
I took out my phone to scan the QR code, because why not – my friend shouted from across the room, “Don’t! It could be a virus! Or worse, crypto!
Sure enough, the QR code opened the Coinbase website on my phone, offering $15 in free Bitcoin to new users with no purchase necessary. According to Coinbase Chief Product Officer Surojit Chatterjee, the ad was so popular that Coinbase experienced more traffic that he has never been met.
Obviously the ad was effective as their website crashed from all the traffic. But since, you know, the website crashed, they must lose points.
I’m also not convinced by the “Instead of talking about crypto, we decided to give you some” marketing tactic. Like any investment, knowing what you are investing in is probably a good thing! Of course, you have to engage with the market to understand, but it’s also baffling that none of these crypto ads actually explain what they want consumers to invest in.
The retro aesthetic is actually pretty cool. The bouncing QR code was a risk, but I remember this ad more clearly than all the others, so it worked. But the QR code directs you to a website with the information on the offer, and that website is a bit cringeworthy. Coinbase writes “WAGMI” on the site, which is crypto-bro slang for “we’re going to make it happen,” meaning, “we’re one of the startups that’s not going to burn out in a few years and cause a lot of people lose money.” But maybe saying WAGMI implies a fear that you are NGMI?
Yet another cryptocurrency exchange, Bahamas-based FTX reached a valuation of $32 billion last month after raising an additional $400 million in funding. Part of that budget has to go to marketing, so why not hire famed curmudgeon Larry David to film his first Super Bowl commercial?
The premise of the ad is that the ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star is so skeptical of everything he’s missed out on big investments – he tells Edison his light bulb is NGMI (not a direct quote), and that using a dishwasher does not work. it doesn’t make sense when you can just put the dishes in the shower (disgusting).
Larry David doesn’t understand crypto, which means this emerging industry must be pretty, pretty, pretty good.
According to the New York Times, FTX and advertising agency dentsuMB considered 80 scenarios before deciding on this concept, which positions decentralized finance as a light bulb-like innovation. Then, after four days of shooting with the ‘Seinfeld’ co-creator, the ad took 280 hours to edit, condensing 7.5 hours of footage into 60 seconds – then they spent another 200 hours creating teasers. for their announcement.
Overall you have to respect the effort (plus Larry David is my problematic favorite). But damn. That’s a lot of time and money for an ad that doesn’t tell you anything about how crypto works.
The ad features Larry David.
Yet another crypto exchange with a sky-high marketing budget, Crypto.com has taken a similar approach to FTX. They wanted star power and they wanted to convince viewers that cryptocurrency is just a natural next step for technology. But their choice of talent was perhaps more familiar to sports fans. In thirty-second place, LeBron James tells a younger version of himself that “if you want to make history, you have to make your own decisions.” Next, a Crypto.com logo appears on the screen.
We love seeing sports stars on TV. But this ad told us even less about crypto than Coinbase and FTX. Then again, this commercial probably costs a lot less than FTX’s commercial, filled with costumes, set changes, and special effects.
I want to know more about the physics involved here. How did LeBron go back in time? Will he tell his younger self about crypto breaking our current timeline so LeBron never made the NBA meaning South Florida never had a successful pro sports team in the 21st century? So many questions.
Meta Quest 2
Not only did Facebook change its name to Meta, but they also renamed their VR headset from Oculus Quest – the name of the VR company they acquired – to Meta Quest.
The ad is confusing and depressing. Basically, some animatronic musicians – who work together in a Chuck E. Cheese-like place – lose their jobs and can’t hang around anymore. But using their Meta Quest 2, they can forget life’s challenges and be legless avatars together in Horizon Worlds, the company’s social gathering app.
If the goal is brand recognition, then fine. But the ad looks a bit like, “Are you dissatisfied with the real world?” Try the Metaverse! Also, Horizon Worlds isn’t nearly as polished as the ad makes it seem, so less points for ingenuity.
They could have tried to hire Larry David, but they didn’t.
Google Pixel 6
To showcase its Pixel 6 phone, Google collaborated with superstar Lizzo to highlight its Real Tone feature.
‘Every photo in my yearbook has been terribly taken since I was a kid,’ says a voice over a photo of friends in graduation attire – those with darker complexions blend into the background of the photo .
Next, Google displays photos taken with its Real Tone feature, which uses computer photography technology to properly expose photos of people with varying skin tones. The photos are gorgeous, displayed as Lizzo sings an unreleased track.
They have a new Lizzo song in their commercial. To quote TechCrunch’s Annie Saunders, “I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I saw Lizzo’s Pixel ad on Instagram, and everything Lizzo does is fair and good.”
There’s really nothing to cringe here, but you could argue that Google’s market share in the smartphone business compared to Apple is a bit cringeworthy for them.
Miley Cyrus and her godmother Dolly Parton teamed up to announce T-Mobile’s 5G network in a series of two thirty-second spots. In the first commercial, Dolly Parton appears in a public service announcement, urging people to switch from AT&T or Verizon for the sake of their phones. Then, she calls Miley, urging her to use her voice to save the phones. In the next commercial, we see Miley sing heartfelt lyrics like “Let’s do it for the phones / They do so much for you” in a recording studio. She even belts, quotes, “T-Mobile” while wearing a black blazer and leather gloves.
I paid attention, because I think Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus are fun. They might have attacked other networks’ supposedly worse 5G coverage, but hey, in the spirit of football, go for that tackle or something.
It’s giving cheugy, not camp.
On Uber Eats, you can order household essentials like foil, sponges and candles, not just food. So the ad shows us what happens when celebrities like Jennifer Coolidge, Gwyneth Paltrow, Trevor Noah and Nicholas Braun get confused about what is and isn’t food.
I now know that I can get foil in a snap on Uber Eats. But it feels like it’s covering up some marketing ‘oopsie’, like maybe when they started Uber Eats they should have chosen a name that would encompass what they call both ‘eating and not eating’ .
They used Capone’s song “Oh No,” which went viral on TikTok about a year ago. It’s a bit of a pain to appeal to a younger audience by taking advantage of a trend that is no longer relevant.
Since the release of voice-enabled smart devices, Amazon has had to alleviate a recurring fear among consumers: is Alexa watching me? Does she know too much? What if she got too powerful?
But Amazon decided to show an audience of millions what would happen if Alexa could read your mind. When actress Scarlett Johansson wakes up next to her husband, Colin Jost of “Saturday Night Live”, Alexa reads her mind and places an order for extra strength mouthwash. When Johansson wants Jost to stop talking, Alexa activates their loud mixer.
In the end, Jost and Johansson decide that these mind-reading devices would ultimately be bad, but… I guess the purpose of advertising is to entertain, not explain what the product does? Jost, however, successfully instructs his smart device to turn on the TV, which displays some of Alexa’s less terrifying skills. It’s because it’s Like she can read your mind, she doesn’t Actually read your mind… right?
The ad was pretty funny! But laughing at an advertisement made by Amazon makes one cringe. We make people cringe here, it’s our fault.
Amazon teased that Prime Video would become the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football, marking the first year of an eleven-year deal between Amazon and the NFL.
Starting September 15, fans will be able to watch Thursday Night Football games exclusively on Prime Video. It’s clear! It’s short! It’s an ad specifically aimed at the football fan audience, and guess who’s watching the Super Bowl? Soccer fans!
“We have to live in this world without games until next season,” the voiceover tells us as someone grows a huge, unruly beard due to their post-football depression. Bestie, other sports exist!