TD Ameritrade, Havas Place First Ad In Blockchain

TD Ameritrade became the first company to embed an advertisement in the blockchain with assistance from its agency of record, Havas New York.

The campaign, titled Greetings from the Blockchain, aims to “celebrate” the growing community of blockchain innovators and investors, and highlight how new technologies continue to change consumer behavior and expectations.

Innovation is TD Ameritrade’s legacy. The company continually tests new ways to use technologies.

“I started in digital advertising in 1995, and I remember at Hill Holliday when the first banner ad came up from AT&T,” said Denise Karkos, CMO at TD Ameritrade. "I have always thought about firsts. With our heritage of firsts as a brand, wouldn’t it be fun to be the first to advertise in the blockchain?”

There is no expectation beyond creating a little buzz for the brand and enjoying the process, Karkos said. TD Ameritrade also was the first brokerage firm to provide access to bitcoin futures, she said.

Karkos worked with Harry Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer, Havas New York and Peter Gosselin, creative director, Havas New York, among others, to bring the ad to life.

The ad is made up of ASCII art and can only be viewed visually on a landing page.

The landing page also links to information about each bitcoin transaction and how ad the ad was built.

Havas and TD Ameritrade were able to place the ad in function of the blockchain called OP_Return, which works like the memo space on a check. Simple messages and characters can be placed within transactions on the blockchain. By linking 68 individual transactions, with 80 characters per transaction, the two companies managed to create the larger image.

“All the new technologies are fundamentally changing customer expectations and behaviors,” Karkos, said. “For TD Ameritrade, that’s the core of who we are. Innovation is our legacy.”

While there are no plans to run a TV ad, TD Ameritrade and Havas will create a social-media campaign as a way to create buzz around the campaign. 

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