Marketers are perennially excited about the shiny new thing. Few shiny new things have captured the imagination of marketers quite like the NFT bandwagon of the last year.
Of course, it’s always good to experiment with shiny new things that come along. What is fringe today could be mainstream tomorrow. But experimentation can lead to distraction. And the dynamic of bandwagons like this can create urgency without understanding. Brands add “NFT Project” to their marketing plans as if a brand dropping an NFT is valuable and newsworthy just because they did it.
As Vulture’s Rebecca Alter reminded everyone recently, most NFTs “are about as valuable as a QR code on a Coke bottle cap that sends you to a dead link to an mp3 download.”
One of the more comedic moments in brands trying to engage with the NFT community happened last month when Pepsi dropped an NFT collection called “The Pepsi Mic Drop.” A cringe-worthy conversation ensued between brand social media accounts, using slang from the NFT community like “fren” (friend) and “WAGMI” (we’re all going to make it):
Meta: “This is going to look great in the metaverse
Pepsi: “You know it, fren!”
Budweiser (which recently changed its Twitter handle to beer.eth): “Welcome brand friend. WAGMI”
Pepsi: “Thanks, fren! WAGMI”
Judging by the number of PR pitches I’ve recently received related to NFTs, brands, and the Super Bowl, we are likely to see a lot of NFT action over the next month.
The ever-colorful Mark Ritson wrote a piece in Marketing Week last week titled “NFTs are just marketing’s latest idiot magnet.”
“Of course, this sudden popularity should surprise no one. There is something in the DNA of marketers that makes them especially vulnerable to this kind of bullshit.
“NFTs are exactly the kind of obscure tactical catnip that our industry simply cannot resist. Equal parts childish game, obscure tech and viral sensation, you can trace the current obsession with NFTs back to their ancestors: VR and Bitcoin and 3D printing and Pokemon Go and Second Life…
“In truth, there may be great value in NFTs, way, way down the track when the metaverse takes hold. But it’s a long way off and I’d raise a more important concern; one that applied equally to 3D printing and Bitcoin and Pokemon Go and all the other crap we have collectively lost our disciplinary shit about during the last two decades. What the f**k has any of this got to do with marketing?”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: