In February, a Super Bowl ad for FTX equated investing in cryptocurrency with going to the moon. The commercial, which starred comedian Larry David as a pooh-pooher of history-altering inventions like the wheel, the toilet and space travel, posited that anyone dismissive of the crypto trend is missing out.
A little more than three months later, the crypto industry has come crashing back to earth along with the broader stock market, with the S&P 500 briefly brushing with bear market status last week.
The freefall means financial brands—from startup crypto offerings to established players such as Fidelity and J.P. Morgan—must recalibrate marketing approaches to offer assurances during a nervous time for investors, especially younger consumers who have not been through a prolonged rough stretch like this before.
Even once-reliable stocks such as Target are falling amid disappointing earnings reports and inflation fears, while the crypto market has lost nearly $2 trillion in value since the fall.
“We’re just not headed to the moon right now—that kind of messaging isn’t going to work,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “If you go back to the Super Bowl and you look at what the financial firms were saying then and those messages just won’t work now—even in the span of a few months what seemed like relevant and important messages are just going to fall flat.”