That video is an ad for a cryptocurrency-trading platform, and it’s now the butt of all jokes online. Damon, like many other celebrities before him, including Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow, is lending his famous face and voice to a marketing campaign meant to “accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”
The ad was actually released last October, when crypto.com, the platform in question, partnered with Damon’s Water.org non-profit and made a $1 million donation in the process. Somehow, it failed to register with wide audiences, but all this changed over the course of the last week, because it screened ahead of Spider-Man: No Way Home, aka the biggest theatrical release of the past couple of years.
In the video, Damon is walking through a museum-like hall while CGI visuals display immediately behind him as he presents his argument about how “fortune favors the brave.” The word crypto isn’t mentioned once, not even at the end of the ad, but the implication is the same: going to space on an official mission, not just a flight of leisure like Jeff Bezos took last year, is akin to investing in crypto. The same goes for the conquistadores, the daredevils scaling the world’s highest mountains or the inventors who shaped today’s aviation industry.
Produced by David Finger’s company RESET and directed by Wally Pfister, the ad has gone viral, attracting all sorts of criticism. The comparison between these pioneers in their respective fields and the people who buy crypto aside, people are also taking issue with the ad because of its pretentiousness, its lack of a concrete message, and the fact that Damon is rich enough to be above “selling out,” especially to a market that, like the niche of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), remains highly controversial.
Below is just a sample of the things people are saying online about the ad. Fortune may favor the brave, but it’s not showing any kind of sympathy for Damon these days.
sequel to the martian where matt damon is stranded on mars running low on his supply of cartoon apes— Rajat Suresh (@rajat_suresh) January 3, 2022
[matt damon strolls past a spanish galleon] are you going to put your life savings into the pretend computer dog money that you can’t spend or are you a pussy— Ulysses S. Cocksman (@USCocksman) January 2, 2022
MATT DAMON [striding through a futuristic room]: History is filled with brave men who spent $378,000 on a cartoon ape— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) January 3, 2022
You may be zoned out during commercials and not have noticed, but there’s an ad with Matt Damon that likens trading cryptocurrency to climbing a mountain and being an astronaut.— Chris Finke (@SlipperyFox10) January 1, 2022
What really sticks out to me in the Matt Damon “buy crypto now and be a cool explorer” ad is that he never actually went to Mars, that was just a character he played in a movie one time.— Tom Reimann (@startthemachine) January 3, 2022