Last year, Coca Cola sold branded NFTs for over $575,000. The person behind it all? Morten Grubak. Morten is the global executive creative director at Vice-owned creative agency Virtue.
If you’re wondering why brands are also jumping on the NFT bandwagon, it isn’t just about the money. NFTs create the opportunity for worthwhile digital products, longer-term relationships with the users who purchase them, and the chance to extend a brand into the burgeoning metaverse space.
Morten believes that the use of NFTs in brand marketing is being polluted by brands doing it just for the sake of it, rather than adding something to the community it is aimed at.
At the moment, the use of NFTs is dominated by high-volume, low-utility examples. These are the frequently derided ‘profile pictures’, such as those recently adopted by Twitter. These are effectively a token attached to a piece of art that can be bought or sold on as a status symbol alone.
Morten, on the other hand, argues that NFTs need to add something tangible to the relationship between brand and consumer in order to really launch as a brand concept. That can either be a digital native experience or tied to a physical product or service.
With Coca Cola, one of the assets was a question mark that basically gives the holder access to something they like. Whatever it is, that holder would have an experience going with it. And those types of connections between a digital product and a physical one is going to be what really drives the desire for NFTs in the future.
In terms of the controversial poor environmental affects that NFTs have on the environment, Morten is quoted on saying the following;
“Everybody is waiting for layer two to happen, right? But there’s always going to be a carbon footprint on whatever we’re doing. We pride ourselves with being the first clothing collection created without any carbon footprint, because we were running the whole agency on green energy for three months while we were producing it.
“But it’s definitely something that, when we’re talking with clients, we’re advising them on finding alternatives. When we were talking about doing the Coke stuff, we really looked into a platform called palm.io – a platform that’s almost carbon neutral. But if you want to be on the bigger marketplaces, they use Ethereum. And it’s extremely hard to circumvent that.”
Morten is also passionate about NFTs creating a space for young creatives to thrive. “This space is also an opportunity for a lot of young people to actually create wealth or invest in assets that they are not able to in the real world. For my generation, getting on to the property market is extremely hard. If you didn’t enter the market early on, it’s going to be impossible.”