Matt Damon poses at the premiere of “The Last Duel” in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 9, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly



Photo:

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

Sometimes consumers get turned off by Hollywood celebrities like Matt Damon promoting their left-wing politics, but these days it’s not a candidate endorsement that’s creating ex-fans of the movie star. Weston Blasi at our corporate cousin MarketWatch recently noted:

Remember when Matt Damon told you, “Fortune favors the brave”?

Well, Twitter users do, and many of them are bringing up the viral Crypto.com ad, while prices for cryptocurrency like bitcoin and ether are slumping, and crypto exchange platforms like

Coinbase

are losing billions in market cap.

The commercial, which debuted on October 28, 2021 and was replayed again during the Super Bowl, has now been viewed 9 million times on Twitter and over 17 million times on YouTube . . . 

Unfortunately, if you had purchased $1000 worth of bitcoin when the commercial debuted, your crypto value would be about $481 today.

Jeff Beer recently noted at Fast Company:

Even when Matt Damon’s Crypto.com ad first launched on October 28, 2021, it was widely seen as laying on the heavy-handed hero-worship a bit thick. In the spot, the Oscar winner compares investing in crypto to milestones like the invention of human flight and space travel.

“History is filled with almosts,” says Damon in the spot. “With those who almost adventured, who almost achieved, but ultimately for them it proved to be too much. Then, there are others. The ones who embrace the moment and commit.”

Investors who almost resisted the urge to embrace crypto may be having regrets, and the Journal’s Andy Kessler is looking prescient for writing in February:

Americans spend more than seven hours a day looking at screens. I, for one, am sick of the Geico gecko, the LiMu emu, the Progressive lady, Jake from State Farm, Allstate’s Mayhem guy and especially that dumb

Aflac

duck. The insurance industry is already regulated for financial reasons—restrict these commercials to once a day. And make Matt Damon and Tom Brady apologize publicly for pitching crypto when bitcoin was $66,000.

Of course Mr. Damon wasn’t the only celebrity seizing the day to endorse new currencies, and perhaps tomorrow will bring another surge of interest in such assets and better days for crypto investors. But a common theme now among well-heeled crypto endorsers seems to be a lack of boldness about addressing the issue publicly.

Daniel Arkin of NBC News reported on Friday:

NBC News contacted representatives for Damon, as well as Larry David, Charli D’Amelio, Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, LeBron James, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Their spokespeople did not respond to emails sent Thursday morning; Kardashian’s publicist declined to comment.

Damon, David and James each appeared in eye-catching crypto commercials that aired during the Super Bowl in February. The star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” showed up in a cheeky ad for the FTX exchange, making it seem like crypto deniers would be judged as harshly by history as those who opposed silverware or the wheel. James, meanwhile, pitched for Crypto.com.

D’Amelio, Foxx, Hilton, Kardashian, Kutcher, Paltrow and Witherspoon have publicly endorsed various cryptocurrencies in recent years via social media posts or other announcements. Witherspoon, for example, tweeted in December that “crypto is here to stay” and encouraged more women to get involved.

Does fortune now favor the silent?

As for Mr. Damon’s political endorsements, voters can now decide how valuable they have been. “I love

Joe Biden,

” the actor told CNBC In 2019, adding:

In California, we have

Kamala Harris,

who I think is absolutely brilliant and I would love to someday see her be the president of the United States and if that happened in 2020 — I’d be very happy with that too.

***

Speaking of Tarnished Endorsements
Treasury Secretary

Janet Yellen,

who appears to have made a historic blunder in dismissing inflation concerns about the Biden economic plan in early 2021, is finding that her signature policy endorsement is not swaying the U.S. Congress. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison reports today:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s success in securing the biggest global corporate-tax reform in decades risks flopping in her own country’s legislature, potentially sowing the seeds for renewed international tensions in coming years.

Heralded as a “historic agreement” when the two-part deal was reached last October, the framework would set a global 15% minimum tax rate and rewrite the rules for how countries divvy up taxing corporate profits.

Until the Russia-Ukraine war brought a big set of new challenges, it was the biggest win of Yellen’s tenure. But part of the pact between nearly 140 countries may never come to fruition. It needs approval in Congress, but lacks the universal support of Democrats and it faces concerted Republican opposition.

***

The Sloth Election of 2022?
The Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter reports that she’s lately talked to Democratic participants in voter focus groups and finds that beyond endorsing particular candidates they are looking for particular qualities and often not finding them among incumbent Democrats:

When asked to describe Democrats in Congress as an animal, almost all picked docile creatures, or as one man described them, animals that are “slow and arboreal.” When asked what kind of animal they wished Democrats would be, they chose “great white shark,” and “grizzly bear.” Another said she wanted them to be like a hyena, an animal that is “fast, aggressive, assertive, and gets what they want done.”

Perhaps political fortune favors the brave.

***

James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”

***

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