- The new Grayscale fund advert has aired, and the reaction has not been good
- Some criticize the mixed message while others criticize the poor audio mixing
- We run the rule over the ad to see if it helps or hinders the crypto movement
The new advert for Grayscale, the cryptocurrency investment company, has met with a mixed reaction from crypto fans. The 30 second advert, which tries to extol the virtues of cryptocurrencies over fiat currencies, follows in the footsteps of their #dropgold campaign last year, which received a warm reception all round. The new Grayscale advert however has come in for criticism for a variety of reasons, from poor audio quality to the fact that it doesn’t mention names of any cryptocurrencies, with some regarding it as a missed opportunity. We take a look at the advert and judge it for ourselves.
— Michael Sonnenshein (@Sonnenshein) August 10, 2020
The Grayscale advert consists of a potted history of currencies aided by fast paced visuals and rushed narration that struggles to be heard over The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Pop’, before advising viewers to “go digital, go Grayscale”. We are not told much about digital currencies as a concept, with Grayscale presumably hoping that viewers will go away and do their own research afterwards. However, the entire experience is like a visual and auditory ambush which merely leaves you feeling confused and asking ‘what was that all about?’
Grayscale Misses the Target
A rule of thumb for a good advert is that it should explain the problem and then show how the product solves that problem. Grayscale completely fails on this front, with no reason whatsoever given as to why viewers should “go digital, go Grayscale”.
Given that they are also fighting a decade’s worth of negative media bias, Grayscale has a mountain to climb in attempting to undermine the fiat money system that viewers will have been using all their lives. Instead they waste 23 of the 30 seconds giving us a history lesson on currencies before utterly failing during the last seven to suggest why digital currencies are a better alternative. That’s like telling Native Americans to ‘go Smith and Wesson’ without explaining what guns actually do.
Loud and (Not Very) Clear
The production values of the advert are have also come in for criticism, and rightly so:
Your advertising agency clearly doesn’t understand the negative connotation surrounding crypto that the masses still have front of mind. I hear a guitar and a coy 25 second synopsis of the monetary system, with a fast talking narrator who takes a jab at the fed. Terrible work!
— It’s time for real solutions! Ripple + MindMed (@thefutureisxrp) August 11, 2020
The choice of music track is very fitting, with the Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Pop’ summing up the edgy, anti-establishment, cypher punk ideology that cryptocurrencies have over fusty old traditional currencies. However, track selection is where the positivity ends as far as the audio goes.
The criticism that the music is too loud is fully justified, with the guitar-driven punk rock occasionally drowning out the narrator and causing the viewer to fight to hear what is being said. It’s so muddied that it takes a couple of listens to work out that the narrator is saying “go digital, go Grayscale” at the end.
Talking of the narrator, he is forced to cram a history lesson and a Grayscale crypto fund plug into 30 seconds, which simply doesn’t work – the poor guy is forced to rush through the script to get all the information in, and then at the end of it he’s drowned out by the music anyway.
The poor execution is one thing, but it is the mixed message that is the real sin here. The debasement of currencies seems to be the core gripe Grayscale has, in which case it needs to advertise a product that counters this. However, its cryptocurrency offering contains a number of coins that do nothing to counteract the issue of money printing, including XRP which is regularly dumped onto the market by the company owners.
Perhaps Grayscale feels wary about claiming that its product deals with the issue of fiat currencies losing value over time because it is aware that its product doesn’t counter this. This would be fine, but then don’t focus on value – make it about the other benefits of blockchain technology and digital assets over cash.
Grayscale’s Missed Opportunity
It may not seem like it from this review, but the Grayscale advert is not actually bad per se, but it’s not good either. It misses the mark on two key fronts however – its execution and, most importantly, its message.
In short represents a wasted opportunity to lay into the impact of the rampant money printing going on by governments and the benefits that certain cryptocurrency projects can offer, which is a shame given their prominence in the space.