Coinsquare campaign a first in cryptocurrency

Amidst a crackdown on digital ads for virtual currencies, the trading platform aims to show its muscle with traditional media.


The world of virtual currency can be a seedy place full of hackers and scams, making it hard for everyday investors to know whom they can trust with their money.

Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinsquare addresses that concern directly in a new mass campaign directed at mainstream investors – a first for the category. Toronto’s The Garden developed the campaign, which launched April 12.

Coinsquare’s media spend says as much, if not more, about what the company hopes to achieve than the campaign’s 30-second TV spot, featuring a cast of characters from the shadiest corners of the internet who have congregated in a dimly lit room. Inevitably, everyone from a common mugger to the bizarrely-dressed card player to a robot invites you to trust them with your cash. The commercials hangs on the tagline, “Invest with pros. Not cons.”

“The industry has some challenges to overcome from that perspective [of security],” says Shane Ogilvie, co-founder of The Garden. “What we wanted to be able to do was launch Coinsquare as not only the most secure and trusted way to get into digital currency, but do it in a way that actually lends credibility to the category.”

Part of building that credibility, says Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond, meant taking a more traditional approach to media buying.

The TV spot is running on CBC, TSN, Sportsnet, BNN and other stations. The effort also includes out-of-home placements in Toronto and print and digital ads (including banners, pre-roll and homepage takeovers) across major newspaper properties, including The Globe and Mail, BNN, Bloomberg and National Post. Wills & Co. is handling media buy.

Ogilvie says the strategy signals the company – which offers users a platform to buy and sell a range of different cryptocurrenices – is going after two market segments: everyday investors who are just getting started with digital currencies and high-end investors whose investments would lean upwards of $25,000.

To date, cryptocurrency advertising has generally been limited to the digital ecosystem. But things may be starting to shift as concerns over deception, financial fraud and promises of “getting rich quick” from crypto trading have forced major players to impose regulatory measures. In January, Facebook began banning all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, including from more established players in the space, like Bitcoin. Last month, Twitter joined Facebook in the ban and Google announced it would be doing the same come June. Reddit has banned ads for cryptocurrencies since 2016.

Diamond sees these changes as Coinsquare’s opportunity to get ahead of smaller players who may have difficulty building their businesses without the firepower of online advertising behemoths. Coinsquare has previously announced its plans to issue an IPO on Toronto Stock Exchange in September to help finance an international expansion.

“We’re in a position where we can afford it,” says Diamond. “We knew that by moving forward with this campaign, we could be the first that we know of in the world that’s taken this approach to advertising in the space.”

The plan, he says, is not only to be the first, but “to flex our muscle, solidify our position and continue to grow the business in Canada and beyond.”