Tacky, shy, shy… Surprise.
David, known for his contrasting sense of humor, took to the FTX Super Bowl stage in a minute-long commercial that showed him rejecting some of history’s best ideas, era after era. In many small historical dramas, David rejects the wheel, the fork, the toilet, the light bulb, the Walkman and even the idea of American independence (because “even idiots” will get a chance to influence major political decisions.)
It’s not so much for cryptocurrencies either. After the comedian rejects many of history’s greatest inventions, someone tries to pique contemporary David’s interest in new technology. “No, I don’t think so,” he says. “And I am never wrong about these things. Never.”
FTX says “FTX had grapes to make an ad Larry David says he won’t use the product” Jeff Schafferwho ran the advertisement and worked for years with David on both “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Adopting David’s runner is part of the company’s marketing strategy, notes Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and CEO of FTX. “We need to meet people wherever they are — and that means embracing skepticism,” he says in a statement. “A lot of people who are now big advocates of cryptocurrency had huge reservations.”
No doubt, FTX is hoping to get the best word out on a new class of Super Bowl ads, cryptocurrency. Its location is vying for attention during NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVI with commercials from Coinbase and Crypto.com.
However, the company clearly thinks it has a winning strategy, using David’s surprising appearance and complex story. “It is better to underestimate the sum of human accomplishments—and be wrong?” Shaffer asks.
David is asked to do commercials “pretty regularly,” Schaefer says, but often he can’t get past the creative concept that agencies and marketing executives have in mind. “A lot of times, when you get the idea, they’ve already worked hard on it, are very proud of it, and want to do it that way. A lot of times, we have a different view of things,” he says. In this case, FTX’s advertising agency, dentsuMB, had the concept of “we were totally excited” and “we got excited and started writing little sketches about different time periods.” What helped him, he adds, was the fact that “Larry and I are not the most tech-savvy people on the planet.”
The ad has been running since before October, which is the time Dentsu got close to David. He and his team had just wrapped up the final season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO—a time, says Schafer, when David was in trouble and thinking about what, if any, he might tackle next. “The timing was perfect. We weren’t shooting. We weren’t adjusting.”
However, the actual announcement wasn’t filmed until early January. “It was a blitzkrieg,” Schaeffer recalls, as teams were picking places around the nearby Los Angeles area. Knott’s Berry Farm had “an extensive representation of the Continental Congress,” making it a great place to record the scene as David attempts to stop the birth of the United States in 1776. “We just finished coloring the long form on Wednesday,” he says.
Each vignette has its own requirements. In a scene where David rejects the concept of a toilet, he is dressed in a full Elizabethan costume. In the scene when David mocks the viability of the Walkman, he has to learn Japanese phrases that he can shout out on command. “He should have been able to scream,” Schaeffer says. “We couldn’t feed him every line. He had to know. By the way I worked. He still remembers his Japanese, so if he finds himself in Japan in a meeting room, he should be able to get her going.”
By the time everything was wrapped, Schaefer says, the company had enough material for the two-and-a-half-minute trailer that will premiere online after the 60-second release scheduled for television Sunday night.
David was also adamant that FTX had not provoked advertising prior to its Super Bowl debut and was glad the ad agency and marketing team felt the same way. “He hates spoilers,” Schaeffer notes, much preferring to appear uninvited, like a pimple on an adult’s face. “You don’t know how it got there, but it’s there.”
Schafer and his wife plan to watch the Super Bowl with David to witness their creations in the setting for which they were designed. “We want to see her alive,” he says.
The Super Bowl offers creators something they can’t guarantee anywhere else – a huge audience. Schafer says he and David are eager to see if they can please a large crowd. “When you make something, whatever it is, a show, a movie, and you are so proud of it, there is always a fear in the back of your head: What if no one sees it?” Asked. “With the Super Bowl, that removes all that doubt. If we can keep people from going to the bathroom for one minute, we’ve done our job.”
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