Scottie Barnes is back as ‘Bitbuy Guy’

Cryptocurrency advertising has been largely absent from the airwaves following the recent implosion of companies like FTX, whose spectacular fall sparked the realization that maybe Larry David was right to be skeptical after all.

But Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Bitbuy is bucking the trend with a follow-up to this year’s Super Bowl ad featuring Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes. The new spot, “Bitbuy Guy,” debuted Friday (May 26) on BNN, TSN and Sportsnet, as well as the Sportsnet NOW streaming service.

The premise of the new spot is that Barnes provides “confirmation hugs” to anyone making a crypto trade with Bitbuy—based on his real-life reputation as the Raptors’ resident hugger. But he’s become so successful at the hugs, people now identify him as “The Bitbuy Guy” rather than a rising NBA star.

‘”It’s Scottie. Scottie Barnes,” says a visibly perplexed Barnes after a jogger asks for a confirmation hug, then calls him Bitbuy Guy as she trots away. The spot concludes with a young fan recognizing Barnes and asking him to sign a jersey, only to ask him to sign it as Bitbuy Guy.”

L.A.-based actor Jared Crowe, a fixture in Bitbuy’s advertising since the brand’s 2022 Super Bowl spot featuring former Raptors star Kyle Lowry, reprises his role as Bitbuy’s spokesperson. “People just loved Jared in those commercials, so we had to fly him up to Toronto to reprise his character to star with Scottie,” said Bitbuy’s communications director Binu Koshy.

As with previous Bitbuy ads, “Bitbuy Guy” has an off-the-cuff feel that the brand says is a deliberate part of its marketing aesthetic. “[W]e wanted to produce something that felt less like an ad, but still ensure that people were aware of our brand after viewing it,” said Koshy.

The concept that Barnes doesn’t appreciate the “Bitbuy Guy” nickname will be extended through the brand’s other communications channels.

Dean Skurka, president and interim CEO of Bitbuy’s parent company WonderFi, said that the timing of the spot was deliberate, since it allows Bitbuy to be “the sole voice speaking to the masses, while other exchanges are taking a wait and see approach.”

Chris Powell