What’s All The Buzz On #NFT
Even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s that funny new acronym everyone has been talking about: NFT’s. Despite all the buzz around the subject, no one can quite answer what they actually are, or what the letters even stand for. Well, they stand for the term non-fungible token, pieces of online content which can be bought and sold. This could be any digitally created content, from a picture, to a song, to videos of an athlete’s career highlights.
Each NFT has its own specific value, which means they cannot be freely exchanged like currency. That’s where the “non-fungible” part comes in. However, despite not being currency, NFT’s are through Blockchain, the same digital database which handles cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency also happens to be the currency through which the digital pieces are bought. These digital renderings are valuable, one-of-a-kind assets. In fact, in March 2021, CNN reported that the first NFT artwork sold at auction went for over 69 million dollars.
The virtual phenomenon has been blowing up over recent years, and with all eyes on NFT’s right now, it could be a valuable tool for public relations. One of the most valuable ways brands have been utilizing NFT’s is for exposure. This online content is a great way to expand product reach, grow digital presence, and even do charity work. Lebron James in collaboration with the video game Fortnite created a character of himself players could use in the game to promote the 2021 Space Jam film he was a part of. In 2020, Paris Hilton sold an iPad doodle of a cat she created for $17,000. Proceeds from the sale were donated to victims of the wildfires in Australia. These are just a few examples of how public figures are taking advantage of NFT’s.
NTF’s present an opportunity for very unique advertising and public relations purposes. For example, many different luxury fashion brands have begun to sell NFT collections online. The New York Times reported that in September of 2021, Dolce and Gabbana sold a nine-piece digital collection for around 5.7 million dollars. Collectors fawn over these virtual lines because no one else in the world will be able to own a copy, adding prestige and exclusivity to the
product and the brand.
On the other hand, this market can also be used to expand audience reach. Vogue reported that last year, Gucci was selling digital sneakers for twelve dollars a pair. This is a very tactful way the fashion house was able to reach audiences outside of their consumer base without lowering prices of real-life products and ruining their high-end image.
Taco Bell has even gotten in on how NFT’s can be used in advertising. For a period of time in 2020, Taco Bell had taken potatoes off their menu. After facing considerable pushback from customers, they eventually put them back on the menu. Around the same time Taco Bell began selling potatoes again, Insider reported that the company included an NFT called “Tato Dimensions”, a 3D image of a spicy potato soft taco. Timing events like this can be very useful in creating excitement around a product.
The NFT craze that has taken over in the past few years is still a fairly new phenomenon. Anyone with any kind of brand or business is beginning to figure out how they can use this online resource to their advantage. So far, the digital collectables have shown a lot of promise as a business tool. They have been able to create hype around nearly any product, person, or company from nearly any industry, and have been able to navigate markets in ways not thought possible before. As time goes on, marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals will continue to hone how NFT’s are used to connect with audiences.