Crypto exchange FTX makes Super Bowl push with comedian Larry David

Along with the usual array of big snack and beverage brands investing heavily in Super Bowl commercials, crypto company FTX took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on its service during the big game at a time when interest and awareness in cryptocurrency, NFTs, and blockchain has grown considerably. FTX partnered with Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David (who had never appeared in a commercial before) to showcase his trademark cynicism and skepticism – something that many in the crypto industry are tackling head-on.

“We need to meet people where they are — and that means embracing skepticism,” remarked Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s co-founder and CEO. “A lot of people who are now the biggest advocates of crypto once had significant reservations.”

In the 60-second spot, David is portrayed as various figures throughout history, dismissing popular advances in human technology starting with the wheel, and moving on from there to inventions like the toilet or Sony’s Walkman before ultimately being shown the FTX app on a smartphone as a “safe, easy way to get into crypto.”

Crypto, as an industry, is clearly looking for its mainstream moment, as both Coinbase and also aired new ads during the Super Bowl. Crypto has made the biggest inroads with the gaming and esports industries, and FTX has been leading in those categories. The firm signed a massive 10-year naming rights deal with esports organization TSM last year, rebranding them as TSM FTX, and just last month FTX launched a new division, FTX Gaming, which will serve as a “crypto as a service” platform to help game publishers more easily launch tokens and incorporate crypto into their game ecosystems.

It would be hard to classify crypto as mainstream just yet, as Pew Research indicates that just 16% of the population have ever invested, traded, or used a cryptocurrency. That said, where crypto has been quite successful is in attracting young males. Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that 43% of  the 18-24-year-old male audience has used or traded crypto in the past three months. Moreover, when considering followers of top sports leagues or events, engagement with crypto is even higher. 52% of young men following the Super Bowl state trading/using crypto in the past three months, making the choice by FTX, Coinbase and to advertise during the big game look pretty smart.