Eminem’s new crypto ad fails to capture the moment, lets it slip

This isn’t going to be another op-ed about how silly it is for celebrities to do cryptocurrency ads. We all know that they don’t age well.

Instead, what I’d like to opine on is why a cryptocurrency ad with Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, falls flat in particular. If you’re going to put a celebrity in your crypto ad, you need to go all out with creativity, humor or just overall entertainment value. Eminem’s new crypto ad does none of that — it has almost nothing to do with the rapper, or crypto at all.

The rapper’s voiceover on an advertisement for Crypto.com aired during the Lakers NBA play-off game last week. The ad itself, just a minute long, shows a nameless, faceless boxer getting ready to face-off in a match at the Crypto.com Arena. You can hear Eminem’s voice saying empty platitudes of encouragement in the background, telling the audience to enjoy the moment, before the screen shows the somewhat infamous slogan, “Fortune favors the brave.”

I say infamous, because Matt Damon’s 2022 Crypto.com SuperBowl commercial — where the Oscar-nominated actor was actually pictured on screen saying that catchphrase out loud — just looked so silly in the wake of the FTX crash. Damon later gave an awkward, pause-filled red carpet interview , noting that he only did the commercial to support his water non-profit in a down year.

Some are already speculating that Eminem’s main motivation to lend his voice to Crypto.com’s latest ad is part of a marketing push for his upcoming album. But his motivations for being crypto’s latest celebrity spokesperson aren’t important. What’s important is how soulless that advertisement is. Watching the commercial for the first time as a longtime Eminem stan, I lamented all of the missed opportunities staring me in the face.

Read more from our opinion section: Crypto’s best use case? Buying goats on Twitter

For one, this is far from Eminem’s first foray into crypto — he had his own, pretty cringey Bored Ape phase at the peak of the NFT boom, culminating in a half-animated BAYT music video with none other than Snoop Dogg. That was terrible, and also funny: and Crypto.com’s pretty basic ad could have benefitted from any sort of creative reference to Eminem’s actual crypto interests. 

Granted, Crypto.com is not an NFT platform. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to have a sense of humor — especially when creating a likely very expensive advertisement with a very famous, previously NFT-obsessed rapper.

Which brings me to my second point — there’s no rap. Paying Eminem to remain faceless and read a short, only slightly rhyming text over a black-and-white boxing video feels like paying Bob Dylan to promote Victoria’s Secret .

Eminem’s crypto ad isn’t the first since the unfortunate crypto Super Bowl. Both Coinbase and Greyscale also put out slightly more entertaining ads in the lead up to the Bitcoin halving, albeit celebrity-less ones. 

As I said at the top, my point here isn’t to convince the world that celebrities in crypto ads are setting themselves up for future embarrassment , loss of money and even potentially SEC fines . We already know that. And I also know that no one will stop crypto companies, especially during a bull market, from paying celebrities tons of money to promote their brands anyway. Sam Bankman-Fried set that precedent, and even with him in jail, it really shows no signs of abating.

Instead, I’d like to propose that if we are going to keep having celeb-studded crypto ads — make them really sparkle. Pay Eminem to write an entire song about trading on Crypto.com and release it alongside his new album, with a specially crypto-themed music video (he already has the experience). Get JoJo Siwa to wrap another car with whatever memecoin logo, or Brooklyn Beckham to tattoo Dogecoin eyes next to his tattoo of his wife’s eyes .

Celebrity crypto ads, in my opinion, should only exist if they do something really creative or really silly: In other words, make them match the whimsy and creativity of this burgeoning financial tech industry. I’m not sure that any SEC lawyers would agree with me. Good thing I don’t work for the SEC.

Otherwise, make celebrity crypto endorsements illegal for all of the obvious reasons (high potential for securities fraud and misleading investors to start). In a nutshell — go silly or go home.

I don’t care much about tech, I don’t care a whole lot about finance, either. I care about writing stories and watching weird things unfold. And that’s why I’ve ended up in crypto. But because I’m missing that passion for what crypto and blockchain are all about — finance, tech, privacy, yadda yadda — I’m going to write instead about what I am actually interested in. Everything about crypto that has very little to do with crypto. That’s what this column will be about. All the tangential stories that come out of the blockchain and crypto space, what I think about them, and how I navigate it all as a skeptical former Russian literature major. It’s precisely my perch as an outsider that lets me do what I do: Opine on all sides of any crypto issue, no strings attached, no skin in the game. If you want to talk crypto with me, let’s go off topic.

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