Larry David Makes His Commercial Acting Debut In Hilarious FTX Super Bowl Commercial

In perhaps the best bit, set in 1960s Mission Control with a nice nod to Catherine Johnsonhe tries to found the Apollo project.

LARRY: Nobody’s going to the moon, ever!
JOHNSON: Why not?
LARRY: That’s great! It’s too faaar! It is faaaar!

FTX’s tumultuous time journey ends today, at Larry Curb Your Enthusiasm’s familiar office, where a company representative assured him, “It’s a safe and easy way to get into crypto.”

True to form, LD replies, “Naaah, I don’t think so. And I’m never wrong about that sort of thing. Never!”

A message on the screen warns us: “DO NOT be like Larry. Don’t miss the next big thing.”

You can watch a director’s extended version here.

During the broadcast of the announcement’s big game, viewers were encouraged to retweet an entry post pinned to @FTX_Official to win crypto. Four tweeters will receive bitcoin prizes. Since the spot appeared at 7:54 a.m. ET, winners will receive 7.54 BTC each. In old money terms, it’s $320,397 each.

Sounds like a damn good idea to them, Larry!

About the approach, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told the Washington Post“We want to make sure that we hopefully project a healthy image of ourselves and the industry. We’re optimistic about being able to grow our business in the United States. A lot of that works with US regulators on bringing new products to market.” (Currently, Bankman-Fried is seeking government approval for FTX to operate as a derivatives exchange.)

If nothing else, the ad should serve as a conversation starter, with Larry providing invaluable hype in an outing worthy of his talents.

Below, agency executives explain how the project came to fruition:

Muse: How did that go? Who approached who?

Jason Stefanik, ECD, dentsuMB: It all started with a script we had about a man who was skeptical of any great evolution in human history. A man who decided to ditch the wheel, the light bulb, the computers and invest in cryptocurrency, which was no surprise considering he used to miss the next big thing .

We liked the script, but it needed the right talent. Someone known to doubt everything. Someone who is known to be a skeptic. Someone iconic for saying no. So when Andrew Hunter, our creative director, suggested Larry David, we all immediately knew that was it.

What was the customer’s reaction?

Stefanik: FTX was on board immediately, and they were convinced that Larry was the only person who would work for this script. Because there are many people like Larry who are skeptical of cryptocurrency, and many of their questions and concerns are valid. So using someone who represents that doubt, but is often hilariously wrong, seemed like a fun way to nudge those doubters.

Larry is not an FTX brand ambassador. It represents people sitting on the sidelines trying to figure out if they should verify cryptocurrency.

But he never agreed to do a commercial before. It seems like a huge obstacle.

Stefanik: Although we heard that Larry turned down many projects, we did everything we could to try to work with him. To our surprise, he loved the idea and was instantly into it. On our first call, he said he had ideas all the time and they weren’t usually very good. But in this case, and on the first call, Larry had a notebook ready to go with alternate scenes, alternate lines, even costume and wig ideas.

What we realized throughout the process is that for Larry and Jeff [Schaffer], they don’t say yes to things because of the money or where it will appear. They just ask if it’s funny and worth doing. And in this case, the answer was yes.

Can you talk about the creative process?

Stefanik: We worked on the script with Larry and Jeff for a few weeks. We were sending scenes and dialogues. They added new jokes or new scenes. Then we would jump on a zoom to talk about it. It was incredibly surreal, because not only did we talk about what was funnier – split ends or hair transplants – with Larry David, but he often did it sitting in his Curb Your Enthusiasm office.

What happened behind the scenes of the production?

Andrew Hunter, Creative Director, dentsuMB: We shot for four days in Los Angeles, two on location and two on stage. You move quickly and things inevitably overlap. The last two scenes we shot were the bathroom scene and the [music-player] meeting room. It was important to everyone that Larry made the meeting room in perfect Japanese, and he worked hard on it. So there’s Larry, between takes for the toilet sequence, in pantyhose and an absurd hat – full medieval attire – practicing shouting in Japanese with a trainer.

Katie Walley-Wiegert, Director of Brand Communications, dentsuMB: We brought in a lot of improvisational talent, so there was a lot of real-time riffing. Some talents have confessed to pinching themselves to stay in character, especially during the Continental Congress scenes. My cheeks hurt at the end of the first day of filming, because I screamed and smiled so much. Every time Jeff said, “We got it,” Larry would reply, “I want to do one more.”

Why the Crypto Giveaway?

Hunter: It started with a need to create buzz for the ad and to make sure people would tune in to our ad. What better way to entice people than to tie a price to the time the ad is shown?

Today, good publicity is no longer enough, at the Super Bowl or elsewhere. We need to embed the social at the heart of every idea if we really want to be part of the culture. We have to give the fans a reason to talk about us. And it all speaks to what I love most about this campaign: there are layers and something for everyone. This is for crypto fans, Larry and Curb fans, skeptics, believers, and people who just want to laugh at a monk with a perfect haircut eating noodles with his hands.

Last week, FTX teased their Super Bowl bid in many amusing shorts. Larry did not appear there, and the team kept his involvement a secret until game day.

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