by Jayson Schmidt, Preseason
On Sunday night, football fans and friends were treated to an epic performance.
Am I talking about (worldddd champion!) LA Rams… or perhaps the halftime show? Not quite.
I’m talking about the 60-second ad from Coinbase. You know, the ad with the QR code bouncing around a black screen like the old DVD screensaver logo used to do back when DVDs still existed.
Here’s a link to the ad, but what’s the point? There’s nothing to watch, unless you find great joy with the screensaver on your office computer.
But therein lies the greatness of this particular commercial.
On a night when 30-second spots were selling for $7 million, it was clear that global brands were set to make good on their investment. These commercials pushed fantastical stories filled with A-list celebrities, made to grab your attention. Coinbase, though, managed to grab the most attention by doing two things:
- Saying nothing. The ad looked, sounded, and felt different. To many, it was a break amidst the commercial break.
- Generating action. I don’t have the research to back up my thesis, but when the QR code came onto the screen, somebody walked up to the TV to see where it led. I’m sure that happened in households around the world.
If the goal was to drive new signups, they did their job. In fact, Coinbase’s website crashed after a sudden influx of users after the spot aired.
What’s the lesson?
If everybody is doing the same thing, there is opportunity in going the opposite direction. Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tactic, but you don’t have to do it the way it’s always been done. You have the liberty to look and sound different to the recruit you’re chasing. When it comes to standing out, there are no rules… except for those set by the NCAA, but you get the idea.
Be different. And you don’t even have to spend $14 million to get there.
This article is the nineteenth in a series on athletics branding. Jayson Schmidt is a former NCAA Division II head coach and managing partner of Preseason, a creative agency that helps colleges win.
Struggling with your brand or just simply want an edge on the competition? Preseason can elevate your story and deliver it to recruits, fans, and donors.