Talk about awkward timing: Robinhood is set to air a Super Bowl ad this weekend that champions the average investor, only a week after the app restricted trading on “meme stocks” like GameStop and AMC, a move that enraged many of its users.
The 30-second clip, which you can already watch on YouTube, attempts to summon the inner-Bud Fox from within each viewer, proclaiming “you don’t need to become an investor… you were born one.”
Then, in a blog post announcing its ad buy, Robinhood added: “We built Robinhood for our customers, for the millions of people who have felt left behind by America’s financial system.”
Ironically, though, many Robinhood users felt it was the app that left them behind last week.
If you missed the drama, Robinhood last Thursday decided to block users from buying shares of GameStop, as well as a handful of other companies, after its share price skyrocketed from below $40 to north of $340 within a matter of days. (Robinhood would only allow GameStop shareholders to sell their shares, which obviously puts downward pressure on a stock.) GameStop’s surge was spurred on in large part by Wall Street Bets, a popular Reddit forum, where users had rallied behind the gaming retailer for a number of reasons, including the stock being heavily shorted, or bet against, by hedge funds. But GameStop’s meteoric rise came to a screeching halt following Robinhood’s decision, with the company’s stock price plummeting to about $70 per share by early trading on Thursday.
Many Robinhood users and GameStop shareholders have since ripped the app, claiming it stole from the poor in order to help rich Wall Street managers cover their GameStop short positions; Robinhood said it blocked trading to “protect” its users and, at the same time, because the company needed to raise billions of dollars in emergency funding.
And as you might’ve guessed, Robinhood’s commercial didn’t receive a warm welcome on Wall Street Bets.
“All of you, wherever you are watching the game, BOO the s— out of this commercial,” one WSB user wrote. “It’s the perfect opportunity to spread the message.”
Other WSB users simply resorted to the increasingly common catchphrase “f— Robinhood” to share their displeasure, while others even went as far as to suggest buying their own Super Bowl ad as a counterattack.
There were plenty of takes over on Twitter, too:
Gonna guess that it’s already paid for but Robinhood moving forward with its Super Bowl ad is….gross.
— drew olanoff (@yoda) February 3, 2021
"Investing is for everyone!" Robinhood says in their super bowl ad as they forcefully sell people's stocks to satisfy billionaires
— Kasdaq (@Kasdaq2) February 3, 2021
Robinhood released their Super Bowl ad today and it’s the first time I’ve see an ad age that badly as soon as it was made public ? ? ?
— Martin (@scizofrenic) February 3, 2021
Pour one out for the creative team that has been working on the robinhood super bowl spot for the past 8 months. It’s not ur fault. It’s not ur fault.
— noam (@noampao) February 3, 2021
They bought ad time for the Superbowl, but unless they have some killer commercial, they'll never come back from this.
— Jori Davis (@pink_boss23) February 4, 2021
Perhaps coincidentally, Robinhood’s ad on YouTube has the comments turned off.