Robinhood’s Tremendous Bowl Advert Most likely Will not Do A lot to Win Over Critics
Don’t expect an apology from the commercial, which is filled with flowery and positive language, without acknowledging Robinhood’s controversial decision to temporarily stop GameStop stock purchases.
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February 4, 2021 2 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag
Robinhood is trying to convince the public with a new TV commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. But we bet it only upsets people.
Robinhood says it created the ad to get the message across that finance was democratized. “With that in mind, we’re launching a campaign this Sunday during the Big Game in the hope of reaching and empowering millions of people with a simple but important message: we’re all investors,” the company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
However, the ad is pretty mundane. It shows people going through their daily lives while a voice tells the company’s ultimate message: “You don’t have to become an investor, you were born one.”
But not once has the company acknowledged its controversial decision last week to block stock purchases for GameStop and seven other companies. Many proponents of the meme stock craze trusted Robinhood to buy the stocks in hopes of making money. However, Robinhood quickly put a brake on stock purchases and caused outrage on social media.
The Robinhood ad comes closest to recognizing the controversy when it features a woman crying while talking to a friend, presumably because her stocks have just replenished. “Keep an eye on the big picture,” says the company about the scene.
Related: GameStop: fun while it lasted
We suspect the ad was likely created before the meme stock craze exploded last week. (In his defense, Robinhood said the stock buying had to stop because money was running out to cover the transactions.) Even so, marketing is still a hindrance because Super Bowl ads are supposed to be fun, entertaining, and innovative. But the marketing on the Robinhood app is so general that it could probably be used to promote almost any business.
At the time of this writing, the ad had received 483 dislikes for 19 likes, but that number now appears to be hidden. Comments are also disabled. However, we expect Robinhood’s PR machine to be in full swing in the coming weeks as it continues to be scrutinized by the public and US regulators.