NFTs Have Made Their Way Into Commercials — Where to Next?

Kia’s recent partnership with Sweet to release non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within their “Built For Whoever You Are” commercial spot, exemplifies the fact that NFTs are making their way into advertising campaigns. Here is a quick recap of the Kia commercial —

Dead Army Skeleton Klub (DASK) NFT characters were featured driving down darkened city streets in a new 2023 Kia Soul. When they made a pit stop at a drive-thru to pick up some midnight snacks, a QR code appeared which allowed people to collect one of 10,100 Kia-themed NFTs (including Kia + DASK NFTs).

This utilization of NFTs within commercials might just be a natural evolution as one of the ways in which an emerging NFT market expands its use case within the general marketplace. It also seems entirely likely that a significant use case for NFTs exists within the advertising world specifically. Even though ad campaigns and NFT collections are distinctly different in many ways, it’s not too hard to notice a few notable similarities between the two. For example, they both usually have a strong visual component to capture viewer attention. Both drive consumer engagement, albeit in very different ways — ad campaigns are more focused on tailored messaging to show how a product or service meets a consumer need, while NFT collections focus on building thriving fan communities via shared and memorable experiences with fun gamification. This key objective to drive engagement with a brand, which NFTs and commercials have in common, suggests NFTs can provide significant value within an advertising campaign. Let’s take a look at some ways in which this is true.

As mentioned above, visual imagery is something ad campaigns and NFT collections both utilize extensively to engage their audience. The more captivating these visuals are, the more viewer attention they will likely garner. In fact, NFTs have their roots firmly planted within digital art — collections like the DASK and the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) demonstrate this remarkably well, as their artwork is especially captivating. Ad campaigns also utilize digital art in a variety of ways, whether it’s through print, the web, or a commercial spot. Commercials obviously have a very expansive visual approach that goes well beyond just artwork. That said, NFTs are also continually expanding their visuals as is evidenced by the video moments within sports NFT collections. The main point is that this shared commonality in creating a captivating visual experience to grab viewer attention can make NFTs a seamless fit within a brand’s advertising campaign, so long as the tone and feel are consistent between the two.

Perhaps the most unique feature that NFT collections can offer within an ad campaign is their ability to gamify the experience. Kia’s 30-second spot gave viewers an opportunity to collect unique digital collectibles by scanning a QR code contained within a commercial. That in itself created fun engagement with the Kia brand, as viewers had to scan the code while watching the commercial to be rewarded with a Kia-themed NFT. It also gamified the experience because there were a limited number of digital collectibles released as part of the NFT collection. Viewers were able to collect their NFTs on a first-come, first serve basis. The holders of these digital collectibles now have a shared experience in that they were the first people to ever obtain an NFT directly through a commercial spot. They may even become fans of the Kia brand as a result.

In truth, fan experience can be gamified in countless fun ways via an NFT release. This could include opening up opportunities for fans to gain access to ultra-rare NFTs as a reward for collecting an entire NFT set. There can also be fun utility tied to an NFT release, which may include obtaining free physical products from a brand, or perhaps having access to an unforgettable in-real-life (IRL) experience. Sweet has worked with brands like Kia, McLaren Racing, Old Navy, and several NBA teams to provide these types of experiences for their fans. You can read more about the details of our work with these brands in our blog entries.

Popular NFT collections like the DASK, Doodles, and the BAYC (which Adidas partnered with) have built up passionate fan bases with strong, organic engagement. The obvious way in which this is beneficial to a brand’s advertising efforts is that it can introduce an entirely new audience to its products and services. This is one of the main goals for Sweet when working with any brand in crafting an NFT offering. In addition to helping create experiences that are engaging to a brand’s existing fanbase, we also want to help introduce new fans to the brand. These fans might be experiencing the brand for the first time through their NFT collection. By engaging existing NFT communities, a brand can bring new fans into the fold in a more seamless and organic way. One could say that a popular NFT collection has already been vetted by a community of fans, who are willing to continue their communal journey into having new experiences (like working with another brand). The challenge then becomes more about integrating the NFT collection into a brand’s messaging so that the advertisement doesn’t come off as forced or inauthentic.

The genuine enthusiasm that exists within popular NFT communities also has a way of generating excitement that goes beyond just that community. This was definitely the case with Kia’s recent commercial spot. There was a considerable buzz that was created due to the uniqueness of the commercial and the DASK community’s strong engagement. This type of enthusiasm brings attention to a brand from consumers in and outside of the NFT space. And after all, one of the main purposes of an advertising campaign is to generate buzz that leads to significant brand engagement.

As the NFT space continues to evolve, the ways in which NFTs get incorporated into brand strategy will likely evolve with it. Its applications will also likely grow as the market expands its reach — we are still in the beginnings of an emerging marketplace. Sweet is excited to be on such an incredible journey, and we suggest you buckle up and get ready for what’s next.

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