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Coinbase Super Bowl ad outed as uncredited agency work

Last Updated on December 1, 2023
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Over the Super Bowl’s broadcast, Coinbase aired a floating QR code that sent people to the app in an effort to immediately convert TV viewers into traffic and app users, subverting the waiting time for them to either Google or search for the app on the store.

It was a massive success, crashing Coinbase’s servers with the new mass of traffic. The QR code drove users to the app and offered $15 dollars for those who signed up in Bitcoin (BTC).

However when the CEO, Brian Armstrong, took to Twitter to give a ‘behind the scenes’ thread about how the advert came together, the agency that originally pitched it tweeted back that it was in fact ripped straight from their pitch. The pitch wasn’t chosen, nor was Martin Agency compensated when the idea was pulled after Coinbase decided to part ways with them.

Kristen Cavallo replied back with the exact pages and dates the ad was pitched to the company. She continued in other tweets that she wasn’t talking about the intellectual property issue, but the disregarding of ad agencies by tech companies that hire them.

Agencies often go uncredited for their work outside of social network circles, but an advert of such magnitude has caused a considerable backlash in regards to crediting and payment, neither of which have been given to The Martin Agency.

In response to his tweet saying that “No ad agency would have done this ad”, Cavallo responded by calling out the general lie in the mix.

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to transfer their cash to convert it to their chosen cryptocurrency. Coinbase then will act as the wallet, holding your funds until you decide to exchange them back out to cash or another crypto.

Joel is a a lover of janky games, Magic the Gathering, and going down rabbit holes. For PC Guide he has written about peripherals, the Steam Deck, retro games, news and more.