From beer to crypto: the shifting shape of Super Bowl Sunday
This year’s Super Bowl captivated on so many levels – from The Rams’ second-half collapse after injury to its star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, to its late recovery and then last-gasp winner. And, of course, a half-time show to be remembered. But the balance of advertising spend stood out, adds Mike White, chief executive officer at Lively Worldwide.
Lively considers the rise of cryptocurrency as seen at this year’s Super Bowl, and whether it’s here to stay
This year’s Super Bowl Sunday marked a shift toward commercials for cryptocurrency platforms and away from traditional favorite fixtures such as Budweiser and Oreos.
The event has traditionally launched some of the most memorable campaigns, including the Budweiser frogs; Cindy Crawford for Pepsi; Apple’s 1984 ad – the list goes on. And this year’s featured spots from Coinbase, Etorro, FTX and Crypto.com contained appearances from Larry David and LeBron James... iconic names, huge budget.
So does the emergance of crypto at the sporting event mark a fundamental changing of the guard? Or is it an anomaly, a passing fad we’ll look back on as peak crypto?
Super Bowl advertising is seen as the bellwether for brands dominating our collective consciousness in any given year. For cryptocurrency to make such a big step up was perhaps surprising.
Don’t believe the hype
Anyone in marketing would be forgiven for having a touch of cynicism when a new technology promises to change everything. The world of crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is currently overhyped, with one NFT artwork changing hands for an eye-watering $91.8m last year (it’s just a jpeg, right?). Add to that an unfamiliar, highly-technical language that tends to exclude the uninitiated, which immediately causes a collective eye-roll and many people to switch off.
But beyond the hype and bluster, one thing’s for certain: the way the web is built, governed and works is undergoing a dramatic shift – aka ‘web3.’ And it will be underpinned by a system of cryptocurrencies that transfer value – securely, instantly, internationally and at low cost – and tokens such as NFTs, which attach ownership to assets in this brave new digital world. And that goes far beyond ownership of seemingly ludicrous purchases like artwork.
Web3 promises to create a decentralized, community-focused internet, taking power from tech behemoths and putting it in the hands of individuals and groups of people with common interests and shared values.
Creating a winning playbook
What does this all mean for brands? It provides huge potential for new levels of experience and connection with customers. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are technologies most are familiar with or have tried – but they’ll be supercharged by the new web.
The metaverse allows people to explore web3 in a more immersive, interactive way, taking advantage of the above technologies to create a richer experience. Brands that can harness its power best, and create a seamless blend of physical and ever-more-creative digital experiences, will have more appeal and come out on top in the space.
But the big change brands need to recognize is the way the web will work. Web3 is an internet owned by the people who build and use it, with tokens making digital life flow. Customers cease to be data points, harvested and sold by big tech, and then bombarded by targeted ads. They become communities and individuals – real people – with power to create the web they want. Brands need to build trust and relevance more than ever, or risk being shut out. Attention must be earnt. It’s a more democratic approach, with the focus on user-built ecosystems. The best brands will be those that can help define, develop and make a positive contribution to communities they wish to play a part in.
Strategic insight, creativity and delivering experiences that make a connection and compel people to choose your brand will be as important as ever. Nothing new there. But there will now be entirely new and potentially better ways to do it. It’s about defining what you want to achieve as a brand, developing a strategy to execute that plan – then connecting in a way that excites your community.
Understanding the exact mechanisms for building and transferring value (cryptocurrencies) and helping to create a sense of ownership in the community (tokens, NFTs) will be a fundamental skill for any brand that wants to operate in the space.
Back to the lecture at hand
So, are we lining up for more crypto adverts at next year’s Super Bowl? Undoubtedly. There are now thousands of currencies out there representing huge value for investors (both real and speculative), with each new user helping to drive the market forward. But that’s not to say there isn’t room for the traditional mainstays of Super Bowl advertising, such as beer brands.
It’s when the two come together and people start actually using cryptocurrencies en masse that things get really interesting – opening a new world of opportunity in web3 for brands of every shape and size. Right now, much of this development is investment-driven, but over the next few years we predict this will shift toward being culture-driven with active communities of engaged people.
It begs just one question – in the metaverse, which way is the bar?
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