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function over form

Inside Coinbase's successful QR code Super Bowl ad

If you watched Super Bowl LVI, you likely saw the now-legendary ad for cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, which featured a color-changing QR code bounced around the screen à la The Office for 60 seconds. When scanned, the code directed viewers to a link "offering $15 in Bitcoin to those who sign up for a Coinbase account before February 15," notes CNN.

The commercial, which was so successful it crashed the site for about an hour, was inspired by "the curiosity and intimidation we know many people have about crypto," Coinbase Chief Marketing Office Kate Rouch explained Monday in a Medium post.

"We wanted to pique their interest by doing something different, something that's never been done in the history of Super Bowl advertising — a playful, low-production nod to a popular Internet meme that invites action and discussion both in the living room, and on social media," Rouch added, noting that "highly-produced Super Bowl advertising just didn't feel inspiring to us."

"We wanted to show up in a more authentic way to our brand. We hope people found it in turn surprising, confounding, and delightful," she continued.

In addition to briefly crashing the Coinbase site, as well as inspiring a few copycat creations, the ad apparently catapulted the Coinbase app from #186 to #2 on the U.S. App Store, according to financial media brand Blockworks.