How blockchain won the Super Bowl

There was plenty of digital innovation and inspiration to take away from last month’s big game, nicknamed the “Crypto Bowl”.

da Mark Tungate , Adforum

A few weeks back, fans of advertising as well as sport sat back to take in one of the most important events of the year: the Super Bowl. Now the game’s long over and the hype has died down, let’s take a look at some of this edition’s topical campaigns.

Perhaps the oddest moment came when the screen was taken over by a bouncing QR code for almost a minute, which had viewers scratching their heads. And also reaching for their phones, because the ad for Bitcoin specialist Coinbase helped crash the brand’s app. “Well, that was more popular than we thought,” a message stated for those who were late to the party. Accenture was behind the hypnotic creative.

Digital currencies – or cryptocurrencies – were so present during the game that The New York Times christened it the “Crypto Bowl”, pointing out that “at least three services for buying and selling digital currencies”, EToro, and FTX, were scheduled to run ads during the game. Here’s Larry David in the best of them, for FTX via denstuMB.

An ad for tax expert matchmaking service Turbotax also managed to fold a “crypto-currency investor” into its portraits of potential clients (Wieden + Kennedy is behind the creative).

The article pointed out that the other tech trend of the moment, the nonfungible token, or NFT (a collectible digital file) was also briefly referenced in a spot for Bud Light Next, once again from Wieden + Kennedy.

While we’re into buzzwords, the concept of the “metaverse” can sound chilly and dystopian – but in fact it’s just a way of referring to augmented and virtual reality. Apparently, it can also be cute, as Kia and its agency David & Goliath suggested with their robot dog. Here’s the full spot, followed by tips on how you can adopt the pet virtually. A word of warning: you may be singing the song all day.

For the past couple of years Amazon and Lucky Generals have had a lot of fun with the possibilities of Alexa, the virtual assistant. There’s a somewhat creepy facet to Alexa that’s not remotely disguised in this spot featuring Scarlett Johansson and her husband Colin Jost.

So what were the other tech brands up to? E-commerce and website service Squarespace attracted attention with its lively (and rhyming) spot featuring Zendaya, star of the hit series Euphoria (ask your teenager) and sci-fi epic Dune. The ad was made by production company Anonymous Content and the brand’s in-house creative team. It also has a starry director in the form of Edgar Wright, who shot the excellent Baby Driver. (We not only provide you with ads, but also entertainment options for the weekend.)

Google picked up on a challenge facing Black consumers in its ad for the Pixel 6. The montage-style spot from GUT Agency is rich and uplifting.

Finally, there were plenty of spots for flashy electric cars in this year’s Bowl. But only one grabbed our attention: from BMW and Goodby Silverstein, it works the miracle of cheering you up.