Bravely pioneering the “I-used-to-do-slurs-but-now-I-sell-crypto” pipeline, Matt Damon has been named the new face of Crypto.com—the latest move in the platform’s strategy to convert new users and mainstream the digital currencies it sells by way of celebrity endorsement.
Does looking at the mug of Academy Award-winning actor Matt Damon actually make you want to shell out for extremely volatile decentralized currencies, though? Crypto.com is betting big that it will—apparently to the tune of a whopping $100 million. That’s how much the platform has reportedly already spent on a marketing campaign that has Damon slated to star in a string of ads directed by cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception) that will air in more than 20 countries.
“I’ve never done an endorsement like this,” Damon told Bloomberg in an interview. “We’re hoping this is the beginning of a great long-term collaboration.” No shit!
Deep-pocketed crypto enthusiasts are increasingly willing to pay heaping sums to get familiar faces to publicly endorse their “investments,” and the result has been a noticeable uptick in celebrities lending their support to obscure crypto coins and NFTs on social media as if they’re Flat Tummy Tea. In just the past few months alone, influencers like Tana Mongeau and Charli D’Amelio lent their famous visages to digital coins and exchanges on social media, and Kim Kardashian West—the white whale of celebrity endorsements—encouraged her 260 million Instagram followers to invest in an almost completely unknown cryptocurrency called Ethereum Max.
In a recent op/ed for Slate, the actor Ben McKenzie and journalist Jacob Silverman, who are currently collaborating on a book about crypto and fraud, bluntly refer to “the Hollywoodization of crypto” as a “moral disaster.”
“And for celebrities’ fans, who likely have far less money to lose, it’s potentially a financial one, too,” Mackenzie and Silverman add. “These rich and famous entertainers might as well be pushing payday loans or seating their audience at a rigged blackjack table.”
While inking a deal as a spokesperson for a rapidly-growing crypto platform that has also conscripted the talents of mixed-martial artist Ronda Rousey, basketball star Carmelo Anthony, and astronaut Scott Kelly (to name just a few) might seem less sketchy than shilling completely unvetted coins and sketchy exchanges, Damon’s campaign makes up for that by being at least three times as insufferable.
Titled “Fortune Favors the Brave,” the minute-long ad spot—reportedly the first of several that will star Damon—is pretty transparent about who it’s attempting to sell crypto to: “History is filled with almosts—those who almost adventured, those who almost achieved, but for them, it proved to be too much,” Damon says. “Then, there are others—those who embrace the moment and commit.”
Fortune certainly did not favor the brave when Damon recently took a different type of gamble by admitting to joking around using “the ‘f-slur for a homosexual,’” as recently as the year we’re currently living in, but hey—maybe he’ll have better luck with being the face of crypto.