Matt Damon shed light on his appearance in the 2021 Crypto.com ad advertisement, saying in a recent interview that the main reason for him becoming the face of the crypto firm’s marketing campaign was to get financial support for water.org, the clean water project he co-founded with philanthropist Gary White.
“We had a down year in water.org and I did that commercial in an attempt to raise money for water.org,” Damon said in an interview with the Associated Press.
The 52-year-old Hollywood icon partnered with Crypto.com for the "Fortune favors the brave" ad in 2021. In it, Damon compared crypto investors to astronauts, mountain climbers, and even the Wright Brothers, the famous American aviation pioneers.
“I gave my whole salary to water.org because we were down, and Crypto.com heard about that, and they gave $1 million to water.org completely on their own," he said. "I definitely have a lot of gratitude to them for what they did for our foundation."
Water.org did not immediately respond to Decrypt's request for comment. Crypto.com declined to comment.
Damon partners with Crypto.com
Crypto.com announced the $1 million direct donation to water.org in October 2021 with the primary goal of supporting the nonprofit’s mission to bring clean water and sanitation to those in need.
The partnership sought to launch initiatives that would encourage Crypto.com’s users across the globe to support the cause, with Damon saying at the time that he was “happy to do it with a like-minded partner that is committed to transforming lives through equity and access.”
In November 2021, shortly after the commercial was released, Crypto.com went on to pay a reported $700 million for the naming rights to the Los Angeles Staples Center, home to the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, with the marketing efforts giving the exchange some boost.
It took the ad two more months to be noticed by those outside crypto and trend on Twitter—though the reaction was far from positive.
Some critics called the ad "grotesque" and an "embarrassing cash grab."
It was mocked by the creators of “South Park,” too, while The Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr even accused Damon of “advertising a Ponzi scheme."