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Larry David Doesn’t Understand Cryptocurrency. That Is Why He Makes an Excellent Salesman

Larry David-SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA — On the fourth and last day of filming his first Super Bowl ad, Larry David struggled to deliver the punchline due to coughing.

“My throat’s gone,” he murmured, half way through a 16-hour shift. “I’m sorry, but I’m elderly.” My voice is raspy. “Can we come back tomorrow?”

Mr. David joked about taking a break since the production couldn’t afford it. Only a few weeks till the big game, the editors had to craft a commercial that would normally take months.

The shorter timetable was due to regular scheduling issues. Mr. David would not be available until January.

For the Omicron surge, a strict Covid-19 regimen was required, costing $100,000 per day for the 112 performers and 134 crew and employees. Seven sets have to be built in one week on a huge studio north of LA. A reporter seeking for a rare behind-the-scenes look at a Super Bowl ad went a little too close to the cameras.

It all added up to an elaborate and time-consuming Super Bowl shot.

“It’s a higher-risk, higher-reward situation,” said Nathaniel Whittemore, marketing director of FTX, a two-year-old virtual currency exchange. “It’s not unexpected that a gang of crypto guys thought it was worth stealing.”

It mocks humanity’s tremendous achievements and the famed crotchety actor plays his cynicism for laughs. He calls the wheel “a miss.” To Thomas Edison, the light bulb “stinks.” So he rips up the Declaration of Independence and yells at the Founding Fathers about how silly democracy is, causing Mr. David become scream.

larry david superbowl ftx crypto
larry david superbowl ftx crypto

“Don’t Be Like Larry,” Mr. David Warns at the End of the Commercial. Don’t Miss the Next Big Thing.”

A sign of the industry’s fast growth and quest for popular acceptability, FTX was one of several cryptocurrency businesses that ran Super Bowl ads on Sunday. The video is part of a massive marketing campaign by the company, which just received a $32 billion valuation. Not sure how much FTX spent on Super Bowl ads, only that it was millions.

A $20 million advertising campaign featuring Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen was launched by FTX, which also teamed with the Coachella music event to distribute NFTs, or nonfungible tokens. It holds the name rights to the Miami Heat’s home arena, which it paid $135 million for.

The commercial, on the other hand, was lightning fast. We chose Andrew Hunter’s design after purchasing a Super Bowl time in August. Following his November announcement, Mr. David spent the following six weeks improvising and bargaining with his coworkers through videoconference.

After 280 hours of editing, the commercial was reduced to 60 seconds. (Teasers took 200 hours.) On Jan. 17, nine days after filming ended, FTX received a rough cut, which was quickly modified and worked on teasers and special effects. NBCUniversal got the commercial on Monday.

NBC charged up to $7 million for 30 seconds of advertising during the game. Partizan, a production company and editors at Mackcut were also included in the price.

A stuffed peacock, hundreds of hand-melted candles, two Irish wolfhounds and courtiers with plastic face shields resting lightly on pearl-lined ruffs were some of the commercial’s 12 scenarios. All of this was done so Mr. David could smash the toilet in Elizabethan garb.

While the FTX ad was being shot, a coronavirus outbreak prompted the closure of numerous other Los Angeles-area productions. Negative PCR results were requested, as was vaccination documentation, and workers were asked to sit for nose swabs inside their cars. The manufacturer delivered about 900 high-filtration masks.

larry david superbowl ftx crypto
larry david superbowl ftx crypto

The Rigorous Screening Procedure Revealed Many Positive Covid Cases. None Were Discovered on the Set.

Mr. David’s longtime collaborator, director Jeff Schaffer, said he had to watch while key crew members waited for test results in their cars in the parking lot for over one hour.

“Mornings were generally hard,” he said. “We expected we’d have to shoot, but not in the thick of an Omicron hailstorm.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and CEO of FTX, approved the tight deadline and high budget despite not being able to recollect a single successful Super Bowl commercial. Few ads have “transcendent or actually fascinated” him. Even the greatest ones are “quite brilliant,” he said.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, 29, feels confident in his ad, despite his clumsy shoes and company-branded T-shirts.

“Obviously, We Think It’s Fantastic,” He Said.

Celebrities have recently lent their support to various bitcoin businesses’ marketing campaigns. Opponents warn that celebrity endorsements may lure vulnerable investors — particularly young males — to make risky bets in a sector prone to boom-bust cycles and fraud.

This past autumn, ran an ad in which Matt Damon compares virtual currency trading to the early days of aviation and spaceflight. In the commercial, a woman is shown holding up a cryptocurrency.

In the last seconds of the FTX commercial, bitcoin is scarcely referenced. The commercial, like others, aims to demystify cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Schaffer, on the other hand, said he was still a little perplexed.

“I’m glad to have someone try to explain it to me at some time,” Mr. Schaffer smiled.

Of course, he wasn’t paid in virtual currency.

I should have done it, because then I’d understand,” he said. “Maybe. Or I’d lose it all.”


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