Hollywood star Matt Damon admitted that his 2021 partnership with Crypto.com was driven by wanting financial backing for his water.org initiative.
In a recent interview, Matt Damon revealed that he agreed to become the face of a Crypto.com marketing campaign to get financial support for water.org, a non-profit project aiming to provide access to clean, safe water, which he co-founded with philanthropist Gary White.
“We had a down year in water.org and I did that commercial in an attempt to raise money for water.org,” Damon said in an interview with the Associated Press.
In 2021, the 52-year-old movie star partnered and shot an advertising campaign with crypto exchange Crypto.com, where he tells viewers “fortune favours the brave” – comparing crypto investors to astronauts, explorers of unknown terrains, and even inventors like the Wright Brothers, who pioneered aviation.
“I gave my whole salary to water.org because we were down, and Crypto.com heard about that, and they gave $1 million to water.org completely on their own,” Damon recounted. “I definitely have a lot of gratitude to them for what they did for our foundation.”
Water.org and Crypto.com
In October 2021, Crypto.com announced that it will give $1 million via direct donation to water.org to support the non-profit organisation which aims to bring clean water and sanitation to those in need.
Agreeing to the partnership, Damon said at the time that he was “happy to do it with a like-minded partner that is committed to transforming lives through equity and access.” The partnership was originally intended to launch initiatives to bring Crypto.com users to support the cause.
After the “fortune favours the brave” ad’s release, reports circulated that Crypto.com had paid $700 million for naming rights to the Los Angeles Staples Center, home to the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers in November 2021. While the marketing move has increased interest in the exchange immediately, Damon’s ad took more than two months to be noticed beyond crypto circles – but reactions were not quite great.
Critics called Damon’s Crypto.com ad “grotesque”, and an “embarrassing cash grab,” – even receiving the mocking treatment from “South Park” creators, and had newspaper columnists calling Damon’s efforts “advertising a Ponzi scheme.”
In an industry where success can also be determined by hype, many crypto firms have tried marketing campaigns featuring paid celebrity endorsements. However, Damon’s ad had managed to cook up the most scrutiny, whereas others like Snoop Dogg, Rebecca Ferguson, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian have avoided such issues.