DUBAI: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been all the rage making their mark in industries ranging from fashion to now, advertising.
Brands including Twitter and Taco Bell have jumped onto the bandwagon globally and this month, CryptTV, an American entertainment company focused on creating horror content, dropped 10,000 NFTs of 10 CryptTV monsters.
Similarly, restaurant firm Buffalo Wild Wings started selling three NFTs, dubbed NF-OTs, to mark the five-year anniversary of the only Super Bowl to have been decided in overtime.
In the region, BinSina is among the first brands to have ventured into this space in honor of the UAE’s 50th anniversary, celebrated on Dec 2. last year. The pharmacy chain, in partnership with creative agency LivingRoom Communications, created a two-pronged campaign to celebrate the occasion.
Designed to reflect the history of the UAE, the first part of the campaign included a traditional mural designed by LivingRoom Communications, showcasing the story and evolution of the country. It was displayed in the windows of BinSina’s 120 stores.
Then, to capture the progressive spirit of the Emirates, the company wanted to use a media channel that reflected the future, resulting in the decision to turn the mural into an NFT.
The agency added effects and animations to the mural design to turn it into a digital art piece. It then created a software cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask and uploaded the digital art piece on NFT marketplace OpenSea.
The launch was announced on social media platforms including niche channels such as Reddit and Quora, resulting in word-of-mouth awareness and interest.
Clarence de Guzman, copywriter at LivingRoom Communications, told Arab News: “Unlike on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook where currencies come in the form of likes and views, numbers on forums rely on how far the message has gone.
“We started talks about how NFTs in Dubai and the Middle East are picking up, then we joined budding communities and chat groups exclusively for NFT artists and creators in the UAE particularly,” he said.
The awareness resulted in the work being “mentioned on Twitter, tagged on forums and even featured as a top NFT influencer on sites like LunarCrush,” in addition to attention from local press, added De Guzman. The Discord server recorded a boost of 500-plus new members shortly after the OpenSea release.
The auction is currently taking place on OpenSea via Ethereum.
“We expect a value of up to 80 Ethereums ($219,074) judging by how the NFT minting market in the UAE behaves at the moment,” he said, adding that the agency was creating a series of artworks as a follow-up to the ad.
In the world of disappearing content and short attention spans, memorability is something most brands can only dream of, and few can achieve.
“More than its monetary value, an NFT as an ad has a promising potential in immortalizing a brand, and that’s every advertising agency’s goal,” De Guzman said.
But he pointed out that consumers may not fully embrace the idea just yet.
“The consumer market is still in a transition phase — and just like how we felt when we were first introduced to the concept of the Internet, some people resist the credibility of NFTs. It would be amusing to see this idea fully realized years later,” he added.