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Robinhood's Tremendous Bowl advert is unlikely to do a lot to realize 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 word out about the democratization of finance for everyone. "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 one simple but important message: We are 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 acknowledging 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 says stock purchases had to stop because money was running out to cover the transactions.) Even so, marketing is still an obstacle because Super Bowl ads are supposed to be fun, entertaining, and innovative. But the marketing in the Robinhood app is so general that it can probably be used for 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.

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