3 Crazy Things About that Coinbase Super Bowl Ad

Feb 22, 2022
By: Ravi Pimplaskar

At Digital Turbine we’ve been telling our UA customers how our great discovery begins with a “What is This?” moment. During the Super Bowl, Coinbase pulled off on the big screen what we do for our customers a million times a day.

Early in the Super Bowl, fans eagerly awaiting fun, hilarious commercials were instead given 60 seconds of a changing color QR code bouncing around the screen like the old-school DVD logo. Many folks at our Super Bowl party said aloud “What is this?”. Meanwhile, millions who took out their phones and downloaded the app in droves – so many that it, in fact, crashed the app

The ad itself was amazingly effective, with 20 million people flooding the site within one minute of the ad airing. The end result was the app jumping from No. 186 to No. 2 in App Store downloads. But the story really doesn’t, or won’t, end there. Here’s 3 other crazy things about that ad:

  1. Big Game, Big Discovery: At its heart, great discovery begins with great curiosity. It’s one of the strengths of On-Device solutions: people see an app icon and get curious enough about it to dive into it. A large reason for this ad’s success was the ability to recreate a “What is This?” moment. On their phones, people might be curious for a variety of reasons – their friends told them about it, they saw an ad elsewhere, or even the app icon just looked interesting. The key is to pique people’s curiosity enough. And Coinbase was able to do just that on the biggest advertising stage there is. 
  1. High Risk, High Reward, High Halo?: Not all brands have the ability to spend money on a TV spot, which was reported to be $14 million for 60 seconds (plus all the free Crypto that was part of the promotion). So to spend all that money on a floating QR code could have been quite the expensive failure. And while the immediate returns were great, there is a halo effect of the added brand buzz that will make it easier to grow customers and build a business.
  1. All About the App-Ortunity: Prior to the Super Bowl, we told you how to Score Big on your Super Bowl App-Ortunity by capitalizing on the increased buzz for brands on the Super Bowl. Coinbase did the hard part by creting a novel, yet expensive, direct connection between their ad and the phone. But thanks to the halo effect, their APP-ortunity extends beyond just the big game. People are still talking about them and will for a while. 

It remains to be seen whether Coinbase’s gamble will pay off in long-term success. However, the early returns look very promising AND they have created the brand strength to continue to build on that. For other brands looking to create great discovery, they certainly set a high bar. The good news for brands is that they can recreate great “What is This?” discovery moments every day with Digital Turbine’s suite of on-device solutions. 

By Ravi Pimplaskar
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