If you are one of the millions of people around the world who couldn’t care less about the NFL or the game part of the Super Bowl but still tuned in for the famous commercials, one ad may have left you wondering “what in the world were they thinking”. Every year this happens, and for Super Bowl 50 this dubious distinction was arguably held by SoFi.
An online lender that raised $1 billion in funding and whose founders believe that they could soon be valued at $30 billion, SoFi was as interesting inclusion among companies dropping $5 million to run an ad. For the overall fintech industry, their participation can be viewed as the sector ‘arriving’ and the mainstream public being ready for competition to traditional financial institutions for their banking services.
But the overall consensus of Super Bowl commercial reviews of SoFi’s 30 second advertisement showed that the company failed to deliver excitement, or even much awareness for their lending solutions that began as student loans but have expanded to include mortgages and personal loans.
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As seen in the video above, SoFi’s aim was to display that for those select people that fit their criteria of being ‘great’, they will have access to low rate loans. Those that don’t, well, the message is that they aren’t welcome.
For many viewers, the commercial came across as everything wrong with Silicon Valley. Among the positive traits of the technology sector is that it is an accomplishment based society, and there are plenty of examples of people from all backgrounds having success there. Nonetheless, while promoting equality, the tech sector is often also accused of being elitist and ignoring the plight of less wealthy class groups and those of other industries.
In this regard, SoFi’s commercial shows that they are following this mindset by also creating two classes of those that are great and those that aren’t. Also worth noting is that the commercial shown during the Super Bowl received a small but critical edit. At the end of the commercial, the speaker stated: “find out if you are great at SoFi.com”. However, in the original, he stated: “find out if you are great at SoFi.com… you’re probably not”. This further represented the firm’s goal of differentiating their product for only a small segment of the population.