Coinbase CEO faces backlash for discrediting agencies behind its Super Bowl ad

Coinbase ad

Brian Armstrong, Co-founder, and CEO at Coinbase took to Twitter to share how its Super Bowl ad came into being while claiming the idea of putting a QR code at the end, as his own. The Martin Agency, however, alleges otherwise.

Super Bowl ad from Coinbase has been gaining such traction that reportedly the crypto exchange’s website has been experiencing technical issues trying to keep up with demand. The ad with a minimalist spot, shows a QR code drifting about the screen for almost a full minute and has generated quite a buzz.

However, within a week of its popularity, the campaign is now making headlines over the ownership of the idea.

When Brian Armstrong, Co-founder, and CEO at Coinbase, took it to social media to share more details of how the Super Bowl ad came to be, the advertising agency – Martin Agency claimed the idea was actually inspired by its pitch.

Armstrong claimed that initially, an outside agency pitched the crypto brand about a bunch of standard Super Bowl ad ideas, which he didn’t like and eventually came up with the ‘original’ idea of putting a QR code at the end, inspired by Reddit Super Bowl commercial. 

“Since we were almost out of the time we decided to just make the whole ad a QR code – the team came up with the DVD screensaver theme and commissioned a cool song from Com Truise (whose music I like),” he added. 

Also read: Super Bowl 2022 Campaigns: The Big League’s showcase

Soon after this, Kristen Cavallo, CEO of The Martin Agency, claimed the idea was actually inspired by her company’s pitch.

“Except an ad agency did do that ad,” Cavallo replied to the tweet.

She said, “It was actually inspired by presentations our agency showed your team.”

Coinbase’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kate Rouch, earlier had credited Accenture Interactive, for its work on the Super Bowl ad.

Replying to Cavallo, Rouch tweeted, “The Coinbase team and I deeply value our partners. The fit with our creative partner Accenture Interactive (AI) was seamless – so much to that extent our CEO actually thought we were a single team when presenting work.”

She added, “Multiple agencies – including The Martin Agency – pitched us ideas that included QR codes for several different campaigns. However, none of the ideas from any of our partners were conceptually what we were looking for and remained on the cutting room floor.”

In another tweet, Cavallo later shared that her tweet was not about IP. 

“I wrote because his thread could easily have been a celebration of creativity and breakthrough thinking, versus claiming credit and disregarding agencies. I’m advocating for Accenture as much as I am for the industry,” she added.

Since then the advertising agency worldwide has been abuzz with the debate of who owns an idea.


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