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Coinbase Super Bowl Ad Hit the Target Audience So Well, Traffic Volume Crashed the App

If you were one of the estimated 117 million viewers of Sunday’s Super Bowl 56 showdown between American football teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, you probably saw one of the handful of cryptocurrency advertisements for eToro, FTX, crypto.com, and Coinbase. 

While it was good to see so many crypto companies leveraging such a massive media moment, the 60-second Coinbase ad was different from the others. It featured a QR code that changes colors while bouncing around a blank screen, reminiscent of an oversized game of “Pong” from the 1970’s. While that was happening visually, there was a heavy-synth, techno music track playing in the background that would have been perfectly suited for a 1980’s new wave dance club. In case you missed it, the screen grab below is the opening image of the advertisement, which can be seen in its entirety by clicking HERE

Once fans figured out it was a QR code and snapped an image via their mobile devices, they were taken to a landing page with the message, “Coinbase. Less talk, more Bitcoin. Get $15 in free Bitcoin for signing up. Plus a chance to win $3 million in prizes. WAGM! [We’re All Gonna Make It]” – with a link to sign-up for the $15 free Bitcoin and a separate link to enter the $3 million sweepstakes. 

In a company message posted this morning, Coinbase Chief Marketing Officer, Kate Rouch said the advertisement was so popular that it temporarily overwhelmed their servers.

“Our engineering teams load-tested our site to handle millions of simultaneous hits. The volume we experienced was astounding in comparison to our projections. We saw over 20M+ hits on our landing page in one minute — volume that was historic and unprecedented. We also saw engagement that was 6 times higher than our previous benchmarks. Understandably, this volume led to us temporarily throttling our systems. Hats off to our engineering team for getting the site back online so swiftly, and allowing us to welcome more people to the crypto economy,” Rouch stated in the Coinbase message.

The cost to purchase a 60-second commercial in this year’s Super Bowl was a record-setting $13 million. Despite the astronomical price and server-bending amount of traffic to its website, the Coinbase advertisement ranked dead last in popularity among the majority of Super Bowl viewers, according to USA Today’s annual Super Bowl Ad Meter ranking of the in-game commercials from first-to-worst.

Regardless, Rouch says the ad was a success and met all of Coinbase’s objectives.

“Our ad helps the millions of Americans who are curious about crypto get started — completely on us! It is not about an outdated winner-takes-all model, but instead embraces the core ethos that “we’re all going to make it” and can all benefit from the crypto economy,” Rouch said in the statement.

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    This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial legal or tax advice. Trading Forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs poses a considerable risk of loss

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    Tor Constantino is a former journalist, consultant and current corporate comms executive with an MBA degree and 25+ years of experience - writing about cryptocurrencies and blockchain since 2017. His writing has appeared across the web on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, CEOWorld and Yahoo!. Tor's views are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer.