Feb 21, 2022 | Newsletters

VEG 67 Unpacking the Biggest Hybrid Event Ever--- The SuperBowl turns CryptoBowl
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😔: The CryptoBowl Was All about Getting Rich Quick

The Super Bowl is the ultimate hybrid event! 70,000 or so in-person attendees and 92 million virtual attendees.

As if chicken wings and beer weren’t vices enough… Most of you sat glued to the TV during Sunday’s Super Bowl, but I sat on a Twitter Space hosted by Jeremiah Owyang and Blake Menezes where they kept a running scorecard of ads that mentioned coin, NFTs, or crypto. Truly entertaining because most of the audience of crypto-nerds wouldn’t know the difference between a Bengal or Ram even if they were being chased by one. 

This Super Bowl ad scene seemed very dark. Gone were the sweet pandemic-era ads where togetherness, family, and heroics were celebrated. This year’s ads appealed to getting rich quick, FOMO, and risk-taking. (I thought about starting a chapter of Crypto Anonymous when the Bowl ended.) 

The crème de la crème was the Coinbase ad. Apparently, the ad cost $14million to run. All it did was show a bouncing scan code that paid $15 to those who used it to become newly registered. (Previously registered members would be entered into the platform's $3 million giveaway.) The response was so overwhelming that the Coinbase website went down following the commercial. So, while more people found out about crypto, fewer people trusted it to work as advertised. Coinbase is a victim of its own success based on day-after stock trades.


The Coinbase ad featured a QR code that moved like Pong across the screen.


Bitbuy, a Canadian crypto exchange, spent roughly a quarter of its 2022 marketing budget on its Super Bowl ad starring Miami Heat point guard Kyle Lowry talking about his missed shots. 

FTX, another crypto-exchange, featured Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bündchen calling their friends to let them know “they’re in” (Brady is part owner of FTX). But the killer ad that FTX ran featured Larry David playing the crypto-contrarian, comparing crypto to several “it’s not gonna happen'' inventions including the wheel and the lightbulb. Embracing the skeptics won points for authenticity.

With flying avatars, eToro ads painted a picture of crypto trading as social investing: the democratization of investing. Crypto.com's ad showed Lebron James giving a pep talk to his younger self about taking risks. Budweiser promoted BudLite Next, a zero carb beer, by working with Nouns DAO to launch its first NFT project featuring 12,722 unique tokens.

Binance, one of the largest exchanges, chose not to advertise, but ran a counter-campaign on social media called #cryptocelebs to caution folks from getting sucked into  celebrity-laden ads. 

Finally, those who wanted a more grounded risky behavior could choose gambling. DraftKings’  commercial egged everyone to seek their fortune, while Caesars Sportsbook’s ad featured a Roman-themed celebrity showcase.

The Meta Bowl

Image credit: Meta/YouTube

Meta’s crypto days are over but they tried to sell a very sorry look at the future of their new metaverse, Horizon Venues. The ad featured washed-up animatronic has-beens that get a refresh in the metaverse.

Image credit: Ken Bye on Twitter


Even sadder, the post-game concert designed to show off Oculus Quest (now renamed Meta Quest) and featuring the Foo Fighters did not go off as planned. Attendees could not get in thanks to a scourge of technical problems. 

  • Congrats to Twine
    , a new VEG member, had a Super Bowl of its own this week. First, they acquired Glimpse, a similar but different speed-networking events tool. Next, they launched Twine for Zoom, which promises to remove some of the less user-friendly obstacles for Zoom breakout rooms.

  • Simulive
    As if reality wasn’t blurred enough, Socio is pushing an option they call Simulive. It lets you pre-record events but hit playback for the masses letting them engage in chat during a pseudo live event. 

  • 2D or 3D or Vision?
    The debate is likely to continue. 2D solutions like Hubilo or Hopin appeal to those who want to focus on content delivery in a traditional form. 3D platforms like Vii Events, Virbela, and rooom focus on providing a more immersive experience, though not as immersive as headset-laden VR. The question for 2022 is whether events will move towards more immersive environments or not.

  • Rightsizing Hopin
    The digital events world got the jitters as Johnny Boufarhat, CEO of Hopin, the company that closed a $400 million raise at a $5.65 billion valuation announced he was laying off 12% of his staff in an effort to adapt to post pandemic expectations. After a few acquisitions and staff bloat to meet pandemic demand, this seems like a natural – even smart – move. (Rumor has it that the cuts were made to the live events part of the organization.) Event Manager dissects the layoffs and the challenges ahead for Hopin. 

  • Portents
    Avid discusses why they’ve decided to skip major trade shows in 2022. And O’Reilly Media, after seeing the demand for its virtual programs nearly double, last year declared an end to live events, concentrating on virtual instead. 

  • Welcome
    VEG new members! Coresight Research and Tekle Holographics.

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