NFTs and How Brands Are Using Them
Image Source: The Street
If you’re tapped into the cryptocurrency world at all, you’ve heard of NFTs. Although they aren’t new, NFTs are becoming more mainstream after a collage of images by digital artist Beeple sold for $69.3 million in a Christie’s auction last month. But even if you have heard of them, you might still be confused about what NFTs are and how brands can take advantage of this new platform. So, let me break it down for you.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital art pieces linked to the blockchain where cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum are traded. Non-fungible means that each NFT is unique and not mutually interchangeable — think Pokemon cards or rare limited-edition shoes. NFTs can take many forms: gifs, virtual trading cards, tweets, virtual real estate and more. Videos of NBA highlights, referred to as Top Shots, are some of the most popular right now, and a video of a Lebron James slam dunk recently sold for over $200,000.
Brands are beginning to capitalize on this trend. Pringles recently partnered with artist Vasya Kolotusha to create 50 limited-edition digital artworks of a Pringles flavor called “CryptoCrisp.”
Introducing our newest Pringles flavor: CryptoCrisp, an exclusive #NFT flavor created by artist #VasyaKolotusha. Only 50 exist, all starting at the price of a Pringles can. Click the link to get your *digital hands* on one! https://t.co/JA6Bas4Ez0
— Pringles (@Pringles) March 17, 2021
But while all 50 Pringles NFTs sold out, many Twitter users shamed the brand for buying into this crypto trend and bashed them for “helping to kill the planet.” Cambridge University research showed that powering computers to sustain the crypto market now consumes more energy per year than the entire nation of Argentina. Multiple users said they would never eat Pringles again.
As more and more consumers are holding brands accountable, joining the NFT bandwagon may not be the best option for every company. People want to support brands whose values align with theirs, and NFTs can feel like a capitalist trap, as you will never actually own the digital art you purchase.
However, I can see many brands creating their own NFTs to create buzz around product launches, contests, etc. Fast fashion is one space where NFTs could really take off. Limited edition sneakers may come with a digital copy too, or runway looks could be sold as digital art. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already recognized the legitimacy of crypto, and said the Mavericks are looking to sell digital merchandise like sneakers, jewelry and art.
Despite some of the controversy around NFTs, new technology always inspires new marketing techniques and I think we will start to see a lot of brands creating their own digital art pretty soon. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be buying an NFT any time soon, but I’m really interested to see where brands take this trend!
Posted by Hayley