Robinhood's Super Bowl ad won't let class-action lawsuits spoil the mood

Users hit the app with dozens of suits after it restricted trades on certain stocks.

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Kris Holt
February 3rd, 2021
Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 1/29/21 Dow drops more than 600 points today to finish the worst week since October 2020 amidst the trading frenzy with GameStop, AMC and other stocks. Robinhood has come under intense scrutiny as it is now limiting trades on more than 50 stocks. Trading platforms such as STASH have issued statements favoring long term over short term trading. Platforms have struggled to keep up with the volume of trades being executed. STAR MAX Photo: An Robinhood logo and stock ticker symbols photographed off Apple devices.
STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

Days after angry users slapped it with lawsuits amid the GameStop trading chaos, Robinhood has debuted its first Super Bowl ad. The upbeat, 30-second spot focuses on the idea that everyone is an investor. According to CNBC, the ad will kick off the stock trading app's biggest brand campaign to date, but it comes at a time when Robinhood is in crisis mode.

The company restricted trading on a number of stocks with high volatility last week, including GameStop, AMC and BlackBerry. Day traders from the WallStreetBets subreddit fueled the rise of those stocks. The share price of GameStop, in particular, went through the roof. 

On Thursday, a user filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, claiming that it limited trading on GameStop shares "purposefully and knowingly to manipulate the market.” By Friday, thousands of other traders had joined the suit. Since that filing, users from across the US have brought more than 30 class-action suits against Robinhood. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called on Congress to investigate the app’s decision to limit trading.

Robinhood, which has since rolled back some of the restrictions, has denied the claims from the first suit. It cited an increase in capital deposit requirements from clearinghouses as the reason for limiting trading on those stocks. The company has raised over $3.4 billion in investment over the last couple of weeks to help it avoid placing restrictions on trades amid a large uptick in user numbers.

The ad, unsurprisingly, doesn't reference the controversy of the last week or so — it's likely that it was completed before any of the upheaval. The company has said that the app shines a spotlight on people investing “time in themselves and in the people and things that they love.” Robinhood chief marketing officer Christina Smedley told CNBC that the ad helps explain the app to newcomers. "It felt like this was a great stage for us to remind people about what we stand for and remind people about why the company was put into existence in the first place,” she said.

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